Philadelphia College Baseball Notebook: La Salle looks to keep momentum going

Connor Hinchliffe of La Salle a big reason for early success
The last time La Salle opened a season winning four of their first six contests was back in 2011, so it's been eight years since the Explorers have gotten off to a solid start.

Head coach David Miller hopes the momentum will carry through this weekend as the Explorers host Albany for a three-game set with a twin-bill on Saturday.

"These guys believe in themselves and I like where we're headed," Miller said. "The offense isn't there just yet and we need to fine-tune some stuff at the plate, but we're getting there."

The Explorers are hitting just .246 as a team and had to rely on some clutch hits in a four-run seventh inning last Friday in a come-from-behind win over Rider.

"We've been good in the second halves of games and we've shown fight, but we need to jump out earlier and string some hits together earlier in games," Miller said.

Freshman Matt Rivera leads the offense heading into the weekend, hitting .375 with a 1.037 OPS.

On the mound, the Explorers pitching staff has posted a 1.13 WHIP which is the 33rd best figure in the nation. Senior Connor Hinchliffe has looked dominant at the backend, collecting four saves while limiting opponents to a .158 batting average against.

"Connor looks tremendous right now," Miller said. "His velo is up to 93-mph, he would be at most 89-mph last year on a good day. He's also pitching with a confidence that's incredible."

Albany comes to Philadelphia with a 1-2 mark having faced Coppin State last weekend.

Penn opens their 2019 schedule
The Quakers face UNC-Greensboro for a three-game set this weekend and will embark on a tough stretch of eight games on the road over the span of 10 days.

Led by All-American Ed Malinowski, the Quakers have a strong core of offensive threats and anticipate competing for the Ivy League pennant. On the mound, junior right-hander Christian Scafidi is coming off a spectacular summer league performance and is certainly a name to keep an eye on in the Philly scene.

Is this the year the Quakers overtake Ivy League favorite Columbia?

"If we stay healthy we'll stay in the mix," said head coach John Yurkow. "Right now, our focus is on playing well and our execution here during the first few weeks of the season. We hope that playing tough competition early on is going to set us up to have a good Ivy League season."

Gwynedd Mercy looking for first win
The Griffins are off to a slow start, dropping four straight contests while struggling on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the club is hitting just .203 while on the mound posting a 5.91 ERA.

The club is in Florida for the next week for the Central Florida Invitational and will play six games in six days beginning with a contest against Louisiana College on Saturday.

Senior Jason Mulvey has led the offense, hitting .353 with one RBI.

The Griffins got off to a rough start last year too, dropping seven of their first 10 contests before going on to finish 21-14.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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