skip navigation

COLLEGE BASEBALL: Penn’s Henseler becomes Ivy League All-Time RBI King, but Nova Snaps Losing Streak

By Morgan Killian-Moseley Photos: Mike Nance, 04/17/24, 10:30AM EDT


Photos: Mike Nance 

By: Morgan Killian-Moseley  

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA - On April 10th, the Villanova Wildcats broke a seven-game losing streak with a 5-3 home win against the Penn Quakers, avenging a road loss to the Quakers back in March.  Both teams had only five hits, but the Cats secured their first home win of the season by taking advantage of six walks and three hit batters by the Penn pitching staff. 

But in the losing effort for the Red and Blue, senior third baseman Wyatt Henseler became the all-time Ivy League leader in runs batted in with a two-run home run in the top of the 6th inning off Nova grad student righty Ryan Mintz, giving him 166 RBIs in his college career and surpassing the mark set by Brown’s Matt Kutler from 2002-2005. The homer was the 14th of the season for Henseler, extending his Ivy League-record career total to 46. 

Both teams went into the matchup greatly in need of pitching stability, and Graham Moore provided it for Villanova. In his third appearance and first start of the season, the sophomore righty went 4⅔ innings allowing only two hits, one walk, and one hit batter while striking out three.  

It feels a shame that Moore couldn’t get one more out to qualify for a win, but Villanova head coach Kevin Mulvey must have figured Moore was close to his pitch count limit. Graduate Zach Camp took over for Moore, got the last out of the top of the 5th, and got the win, leveling his record at 1-1. 

Senior lefty Patrick Montfort got into a little trouble in the 8th inning but was able to limit the Quaker offense to one unearned run and pick up a six-out save, his first of the season. 

On Penn’s pitching side, Noah Millikan got the start for head coach Mike Yurkow; going two innings and striking out four of the nine batters he faced. The junior righty did get into some trouble in the top of the 2nd by giving up two walks, but got out of the two out, bases loaded jam by inducing a ground out to 2nd from Nova centerfielder AJ Hansen

The Cats loaded the bases again in bottom of the 3rd against Quaker freshman southpaw Anthoni Kiafoulis. With one out, Wildcat junior catcher Josue Valdez hit a sacrifice fly to right to bring home graduate 1st baseman Dylan Dennis for the first run of the game. Kiafoulis was able to get freshman 2nd baseman Trent Toole to pop out to his counterpart, junior Alex Gabauer, to limit the damage; but the Quakers couldn’t get Kiafoulis off the hook for the loss, and his record dropped to 0-2. 

Dennis went 2-for-4 in the leadoff spot for Villanova with a 1st inning single and a 4th inning RBI double, while also drawing a 3rd inning walk. Sophomore designated hitter Collin Quintano reached base safely in all three of his plate appearances with a 2nd inning walk, a 4th inning double, and a 6th inning infield single before he was lifted for a pinch-runner. 

Hansen went 0-for-4 but the grad student knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice in the 4th inning off Penn junior lefty Tommy Delaney and came home on Dennis’s double. Similarly, Toole went 0-for-4 but knocked in a run in the 7th on a fielder’s choice. That run was scored by 3rd baseman Jack O’Reilly, whose leadoff walk in that inning was the only time he reached base safely in the game.  

Post Game interview with Villanova pitcher Graham Moore - PSD Video by Morgan Killian-Moseley

Post Game Interview with UPenn infielder Davis Baker - PSD Video by Morgan Killian-Moseley

Junior right fielder Shane Solari went 1-for-3 plus was hit by a pitch, coming home on Hansen’s fielder’s choice. Graduate left fielder Scott Shaw drew two walks and scored on a wild pitch in the 7th by Penn senior righty Eli Trop.  

For the Quakers, Henseler went 2-for-3, adding an 8th inning single to the home run; plus was hit by a pitch in the 1st inning. Hensler was the only Quaker to have multiple hits in the game.  

Penn sophomore shortstop Davis Baker went 1-for-4 with a 1st inning double, but also reached base twice on errors, coming around to score both times he did so.  

In the top of the 6th inning, Baker reached on a dribbler in front of the plate in which Valdez’s throw pulled Dennis off the bag. The Cats believed the ball had hit Valdez behind the plate before trickling into fair territory, but a fair-foul call on the infield is considered umpire’s discretion and not reviewable. This play set up Henseler’s homer.  

Baker also reached on an error by O’Reilly in the top of the 8th, again on a throw that pulled Dennis off the bag. Baker would come home on a groundout by freshman left fielder Gavin Collins.  

The Ivy League shortstop of the week also made some good defensive plays as well; running down a pop-up in foul ground from O’Reilly in the bottom of the 4th inning that likely would have dropped between Henseler and Collins had he not been there, plus making a tough stop in the bottom of the 6th that almost robbed Quintano of his single. 

Penn junior catcher Asa Wilson went 1-for-4 with a 5th inning leadoff single and showed off his pop time in throwing out Dennis trying to steal 2nd in the bottom of the 1st. 

Quaker two-way star Carson Ozmer reached base safely in both of his plate appearances. The senior entered the game as a pinch-hitter for freshman Nick Guachione with one out in the top of the 7th inning and singled to center. He stayed in the game at 1st base and drew a one-out walk in the top of the 9th. 

“Great team win,” said Moore. “My boy [Valdez] worked his [butt] off behind the plate all day. We’ve had a lot of one-sided games; some days the bats will be on, some days the arms will be on. Once we can figure that out, put it together, we’ll be a really good team.” 

“The last two games we had a lot of fight in us,” said Mulvey. “Pitching has been great, pounding the zone, getting ahead of hitters, letting our defense work. We had some timely hits and some timely runs [today], and we were able to hold on to it at the end. Great job by [Moore], tremendous job by Montfort closing it out. Feels good to win.” 

 “I think we just need to do the little things right,” said Baker. “There’s a lot of simple stuff that we’re not [doing well]; we’re not throwing enough strikes and we’re not putting the ball in play enough. We had a lot of strikeouts and a lot of weakly-hit balls; we just need to brush up on that simple stuff and we’ll be just fine.”  

“All the runs [Villanova] scored were on freebies, walks and hit by pitches,” said Yurkow. “They only had five hits too, but they just did a better job when they had opportunities.” 

Yurkow added that if the Quakers could cut down on allowing those free bases and improve their own hitting with runners in scoring position, they’d be “right in the thick of it” as the season progresses.  

The win was sorely needed for Villanova, who went on to sweep a weekend three-game set in South Orange, N.J. against the conference rival Seton Hall Pirates. The Wildcats now stand at 11-21 overall for the season and 3-6 in the Big East, 6th place in the conference. They will have road games against the Lafayette Leopards on Tuesday and the Monmouth Hawks on Wednesday, before returning home for a three-game set against the conference rival Creighton Blue Jays. 

Penn welcomed Cornell to Tommy Lasorda Field at Meiklejohn Stadium for a three-game set over the weekend, but dropped two out of three to the Big Red. They now stand at 14-17 overall and are in a three-way tie for 3rd in the Ivy League at 6-6. The Quakers will host another Big 5 opponent, the St. Joe’s Hawks, on Wednesday before hitting the road for a three-game series against one of the teams they’re tied with, the Princeton Tigers.