Quakers win second straight Ivy title

Penn beat Cornell on Monday to capture the conference tournament championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year.

Members of the baseball team pose with the Ivy Tournament championship banner.
Image: Penn Athletics

The baseball team on Monday evening finished off an improbable run in the Ivy League Tournament with their second consecutive conference championship. The Quakers won both games of a doubleheader against Cornell to take home the title and advance to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.

Penn, the No. 4 seed in the four-team tournament, entered the competition as the underdog. They finished the regular season with a sub-.500 20-22 record, including a barely-above-.500 11-10 mark in Ivy play. On Friday, the Red & Blue got the championship ball rolling by knocking off No. 1 seed Columbia 8-4 at the Lions’ Robertson Field at Satow Stadium in New York City. The victory moved Penn into the winner’s bracket; the Lions had swept the regular-season series.

A maintenance issue at Satow Stadium caused the Tournament to be moved to Montclair State University in Little Falls, New Jersey. On Sunday, the Red & Blue fell to third-seeded Cornell 7-6 in the afternoon, followed by a 9-4 win over second-seeded Princeton Sunday evening to advance to the championship round.

The Red & Blue needed a win over the Big Red on Monday afternoon to force a championship-game showdown for all the marbles. They got one, squeezing out an 11-9 victory. Penn led 6-0 after two innings before Cornell scored five runs in the third to make it a ball game. The game was tied at 8 apiece until the Quakers scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Third-year second baseman Connor Chavez was a beast at the plate, going 3-4 with one home run, four runs, and four RBIs.

Asa Wilson stands in the batters box during a game.
Third-year catcher Asa Wilson hit a clutch, three-run triple in the top of the eighth inning. (Image: Penn Athletics)

The Quakers opened the championship game with a 3-0 advantage after the first inning. They led 7-2 after five innings and it looked like it was going to be a cakewalk, but the Big Red scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it a 7-6 game.

With two outs in the top of the eight—and Chavez on second—second-year center fielder Ryan Taylor hit a single to third base, which advanced Chavez to third and gave the Red & Blue runners at first and third. Up next, first-year first baseman Nick Spaventa walked, loading the bases. Fourth-year designated hitter Carson Ozmer walked, too, scoring Chavez and putting Penn up 8-6. A wild pitch by Cornell scored Taylor and moved Ozmer to second and Spaventa to third. First-year left fielder Gavin Collins took another base on balls, which reloaded the bases. Third-year catcher Asa Wilson then stepped to the plate and hit a clutch, three-run triple, scoring Spaventa, Ozmer, and Collins. Penn prevailed 12-6.

Chavez, Taylor, fourth-year pitcher Cole Zaffiro, and fourth-year third baseman Wyatt Henseler were named to the All-Tournament Team. Henseler was selected the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Across five games, he batted .375 (9-24) with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

Penn has advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in school history, and the first time in back-to-back years since 1988-89. They will find out their opponent during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, May 27, at noon.