Philadelphia college baseball notebook
The La Salle baseball program has pieced together just three winning seasons over the past 30 years, so the fact the club is sitting three games over the .500 mark as the calendar turns to mid-March is notable.

A principal contributor to the Explorers success, particularly on the offensive side of things, is Kevin McGowan. The senior infielder is scorching the ball right now and enters this weekend's series with city rival Villanova with 13 hits in his last six games, including three doubles and eight RBIs. He collected at least one hit in 11 of the Explorers' 15 games this season.

Joining McGowan as offensive leaders thus far are Ryan Guckin (.349, 25 total bases) and Ben Faso (.293, 20 RBIs).

"These guys have the talent, it's just a matter of having confidence and putting it together," coach David Miller recently told the Review. "We have the potential to win 40 games this year."

The Explorers have a three-game set this weekend against a Villanova club that has struggled significantly to open the year, particularly on the mound where the pitching staff sports a 2.06 WHIP and a 7.78 ERA; both figures that rank among the worst at the D-I level. Clearly, La Salle's hot offense could spell trouble for the Villanova pitching staff.

Series info
Game 1: Friday - 1:30 p.m. | Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth
Matt Holt (1-0) vs. Zach Lutner (0-1)

Game 2: Saturday - 1 p.m. | Hank DeVincent Field
Aidan Frye (1-1) vs. Gordon Graceffo (0-2)

Game 3: Sunday - 12 p.m. | Villanova Ballpark at Plymouth
Jackson Ray (1-2) vs. Jimmy Kingsbury (2-1)

The Hot Quakers
Similar to La Salle, Penn has been hitting the ball extremely well to open the season and has benefited from some great performances by freshmen Craig Larsen and Tommy Courtney. The Quakers swept a two-game series from nationally ranked Duke, then took two of three on the road against Winthrop before obliterating Lafayette on Tuesday, 19-3.

The club will play four contests this weekend, opening the home portion of their 2019 schedule with a twinbill against Farleigh Dickinson on Saturday before traveling to Teaneck, N.J. on Sunday for another pair of games against the Knights.

Penn possesses the best batting average (.289), slugging percentage (.420) and on-base percentage (.389) among all Ivy League teams.

Local D-III Battles
Cabrini and Gwynedd Mercy begin Atlantic East Conference play on Saturday with a doubleheader at Cabrini-Carroll Field. The Cavs are 8-3 on the season and have benefited from some outstanding pitching, particularly from starter Andrew Corso who over four starts has posted a 2.14 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

As for the Griffins, they enter the weekend riding a four-game winning streak after dropping their first five contests to open the season. Dave Tatoian is one of the best hitters in the Philly region right now, hitting .452 on the season while Jason Mulvey is hitting .412.

In another local D-III rivalry, Immaculata (5-2) will host Neumann (5-8) in a doubleheader on Saturday.

Delaware Valley Makes History
Three games below the .500 mark isn't the ideal spot to be in as you're entering conference play, but first-year coach John Love and his Delaware Valley program will take it.

The Aggies battled back from 10 runs down on Thursday to defeat North Park in a contest down in Fort Pierce, Fla., 13-12. The winning run came in walk-off fashion with Neal Flogel scoring on a Zackary Zgura single to left center. Zgura ended the contest with four hits and five RBIs.

The comeback was the largest in program history.

The club travels to FDU-Florham for a doubleheader on Sunday.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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