Towson falls to Pennsylvania 5-4
Towson’s two-game winning streak ended Wednesday evening to Pennsylvania 5-4 in the final game of a six-game home stretch at John B. Schuerholz Park.
The Tigers (8-7, 1-2 Colonial Athletic Association), who fell behind early Tuesday but came back from a 5-0 deficit to win over the George Washington Colonials, tried to make it two straight come-from-behind victories, but fell short.
“We didn’t come out as prepared as we should have,” junior third baseman Michael Draper said. “We were unable to execute in some key situations which didn’t help us.”
In cold and windy conditions, the Quakers (5-5) got off to a quick start by taking a 3-0 lead over the Tigers and senior starting pitcher Sean Bertrand in the top of the first inning.
First baseman Spencer Branigan started the scoring with a two-run single that drove in right fielder Ryan Deitrich and designated hitter Joey Greco.
After junior pitcher Kyle Paul replaced Bertrand, shortstop Ryan Mincher singled to center field that brought home center Austin Bossart.
Towson responded quickly, cutting the lead to one in the bottom of the second inning.
With the bases loaded, junior second baseman Pat Fitzgerald reached first on a fielding error that allowed sophomore right fielder Peter Bowles to score.
In the next at bat, Draper hit a run batted in ground out that allowed sophomore first baseman Brendan Butler to score.
Butler had one run and two hits in the game.
The Tigers would tie up the game in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single to left field from junior leftfielder Dominic Fratantuono that sent graduate center Zach Fisher home.
Despite three hits and two RBI, Fratantuono was held without a run in the game.
Pennsylvania would respond quickly, however, gaining the lead once again in the top of the sixth.
With one out, Mincher hit an RBI that allowed Branigan to score from third to give the Quakers a 4-3 lead.
Mincher would then add another run in the top of the eighth with an RBI ground out that sent pinch runner Brian Hurst home from third, giving the Quakers a 5-3 advantage.
Towson came close to cutting into Penn’s lead in the bottom of the inning after Fratantuono started the inning with a single.
In the next at bat, junior designated hitter Kurt Wertz reached first on a fielding error by second baseman Michael Vilardo.
In the next two at bats, Bowles and Butler both flied out, a result of heavy wind gusts on the field.
With two outs, junior shortstop Hunter Bennett hit a pop fly to center field to end the inning.
“With some luck on a couple of our hits, we could have come out with the win,” Draper said. “This year in close games we haven’t found a way to come away with a win.”
Freshman pitcher Garrett Walther would enter the game for the Tigers in the top of the ninth.
After giving up a triple to Deitrich with two outs, Walther forced a ground out to end the inning without giving up further damage.
Fitzgerald started a Towson rally in the bottom of the inning after a single to right center field.
Junior centerfielder/pitcher Brandon Gonnella followed a line out by Draper with a single of his own to give Towson runners on first and second.
After senior catcher Andrew Parker struck out swinging, Fratantuono added another RBI with a single to left that sent Fitzgerald home.
With two outs, two runners on base, and a one score deficit, Wertz hit a pop fly to deep center field that ended the game.
The Tigers will try to get back on track and pick up ground in the conference with a three-game weekend series at Hempstead, N.Y., against the Hofstra Pride.
“It’s early in the season and we’ll come around,” Draper said. “We have some great talent and a great group of guys. We’ll find a way to win.”
The first pitch for Friday’s game is scheduled for 3 p.m.