Preview: Penn opens home-and-home series at Columbia

Penn hurler Jake Cousins
Jake Cousins has put together quite a season for the University of Pennsylvania and now he has a chance to pitch the Quakers to their first Ivy League Championship Series in a decade.

The senior right-hander will toe the rubber for the Quakers on Friday in the first game of a twin-bill in the Bronx against Columbia. Penn enters the day with a two-game lead over the Lions in the Gehrig Division with four games remaining.

Cousins (5-1, 1.74) has made eight starts this season, tossing three complete games and was honored last week with Big 5 and Ivy League Pitcher of the Week honors for blanking Cornell in a complete-game shutout.

Senior Adam Bleday (2-3, 3.10) will start Game Two of the doubleheader. The righty leads the Ivy League with 65 strikeouts. Combined, the Quakers' staff leads the conference in ERA (3.30) and strikeouts (297).

The Lions have been playing extremely well as of late, having won seven straight. Offensively, the club is led by Randall Kanemaru who leads the Ivy in several offensive categories with a .397 average to go along with 7 dingers and 38 RBI.

The Quakers enter the weekend riding a hot streak too, having won seven of their last eight contests in league play.

Columbia has to win three of this weekend's four games to force a one-game tie-breaker. If that happens the two clubs will play next weekend at Robertson Field as the Lions will have won the regular season head-to-head series.

PROBABLE STARTERS
FRIDAY - GAME ONE
PENN - RHP Jake Cousins (5-1, 1.74 ERA, 45 K)
COL - LHP Josh Simpson (4-1, 2.76 ERA, 32 K)

FRIDAY - GAME TWO
PENN - LHP Adam Bleday (2-3, 3.10 ERA, 65 K)
COL - RHP Jordan Chriss (1-1, 4.02 ERA, 12 K)

SATURDAY - GAME ONE
COL - RHP Ty Wiest (1-3, 4.50 ERA, 27 K)
PENN - LHP Gabe Kleiman (3-0, 4.08 ERA, 26 K)

SATURDAY - GAME TWO
COL - TBD
PENN - LHP Mike Reitcheck (4-3, 3.04 ERA, 33 K)
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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