College Notebook: Penn's offense is one of the hottest in the country, plus La Salle has a test this weekend

Philadelphia college baseball notebook
Coach John Yurkow and his Penn Quakers are off to a fantastic 10-4 start heading into Ivy League conference play with a doubleheader against Harvard at Meiklejohn Stadium set for Saturday.

Offensively, eight Penn starters enter the weekend with batting averages over .300 with senior Sean Phelan leading the group with a .379 mark. Three freshmen are also in that group, including Craig Larsen (.333) who leads the Ivy League with 21 RBIs.

Entering Friday, Penn ranks fourth in the country in runs scored per game (9.6), fifth in team batting average (.326), and ninth in slugging percentage (.492).

The Quakers will be hosting a Harvard (8-4) club that's won eight of its last 10, including a 5-3 win last Sunday over Saint Joseph's.

It's Conference Time for La Salle
La Salle has proven through the non-conference portion of their schedule that the program is on the upswing, thanks partly to the recruiting efforts of head coach David Miller and his staff. Things get real this weekend though as the Explorers open conference play on the road with a three-game set against Davidson.

Senior Ben Faso has been a steady force in the middle of the lineup, hitting .309 on the year with 27 RBIs. He, along with senior Kevin McGowan (.351 BA, .856 OPS) and junior Ryan Guckin (.349 BA, .940 OPS) have made it easier for freshmen like Nick O'Day and Tatem Levins to contribute.

On the mound, the bullpen has been the storyline for La Salle. Senior Connor Hinchliffe has tossed 12 2/3 innings without surrendering a run and has a 0.98 WHIP. He also leads all relievers in D-I with eight saves. Sophomore Colin Scanlon has also contributed significantly out of the bullpen, posting a 3.00 ERA over 12 innings in eight appearances.

The Explorers finished last season with 14 wins. The fact the club can potentially tie or surpass that mark this weekend speaks volumes to the turnaround and the efforts of Miller and the entire program.

A Devil Roll
USciences is riding a five-game winning streak into the weekend with a doubleheader set for Friday against Wilmington. The Devils knocked off Wilmington earlier this week with a doubleheader sweep. Junior Nate Steele continues to lead the offense, hitting .353 while slugging .608.

Offensive Assault
Swarthmore is hitting .365 as a team this season through 12 games, good for the sixth-best mark in all of D-III. Three players enter the weekend with averages over .400, including junior Holden Bridge who is one of the hottest hitters in the country right now with a slash of .549/.608/.586.

The Garnet (9-3) - now ranked No. 7 in the country - are scheduled to host Drew on Friday before traveling to Stockton for a doubleheader on Saturday.

Under the Radar
In fifteen games this season Cabrini (11-3) has outscored opponents by 51 runs. Their staff ERA of 3.65 is the best in the Atlantic East Conference by more than a full run, plus the staff is holding opponents to a .240 batting average against - the best mark in the conference.

The Cavaliers host Dickinson on Friday at home before visiting Wesley on Saturday for an Atlantic East doubleheader.

Friday's College Baseball Schedule
D-I
George Mason (10-9) at Saint Joseph's (7-10), 3 PM
LIU Brooklyn (4-13) at Villanova (5-15), 3 PM
La Salle (12-8) at Davidson (10-6), 6 PM

D-II
Wilmington at USciences (GM 1), 9:30 AM
Jefferson at Goldey-Beacom (GM 1), 12 PM
Wilmington at USciences (GM 2), 12:30 PM
Jefferson at Goldey-Beacom (GM 2), 3 PM

D-III
Drew at No. 7 Swarthmore, 3:30 PM
Haverford at Kean, 3:30 PM
Arcadia at Widener, 3:30 PM
Dickinson at Cabrini, 3:30 PM
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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