Sports

After winless start, baseball splits second straight series

Bruno takes two from Big Green, now 4-4 in Ivy play since 0-8 conference start, coach’s departure

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, April 21, 2014

Playing against Dartmouth, the baseball team won the two games in which its top two starters were on the mound Saturday, but the third and fourth starters had much less offensive support and took losses Sunday.

The baseball team split its four games for the second straight weekend, this time sweeping Dartmouth Saturday but losing twice to the Big Green Sunday.

In eight Ivy League games since the resignation of former Head Coach Marek Drabinski, the team is 4-4, as compared to 0-8 in the conference games that Drabinski coached this season.

The Bears (10-20, 4-12 Ivy) swept their first conference doubleheader of the season Saturday, riding their offense to 12-3 and 7-6 wins.

The first game was a blowout, as Bruno scored in every inning en route to a nine-run win. The Bears racked up 14 hits — six going for extra bases — and scored the most runs they have in any Ivy game so far, surpassing their eight in a 10-8 loss to Harvard. Dan Kerr ’15 led the offense with a 3-for-4 day, while Daniel Massey ’14 went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.

Anthony Galan ’14 (W, 2-3) pitched well, limiting the damage from 10 Big Green baserunners. He allowed three runs on eight hits and two walks in six innings, striking out four. Taylor Wright ’15 allowed two hits in the seventh, but successfully closed out the game with a scoreless frame.

Drama abounded in the nightcap, as the score was tied three separate times from the fifth inning onward. But the Bears grabbed the walk-off win in the bottom of the 10th thanks to an RBI single from J.J. Franco ’14.

Bruno took a 2-0 lead before Christian Taugner ’17 surrendered four runs in the third to hand Dartmouth (12-19, 7-9) the advantage. But the Bears tied it up in the fifth, leading to an exciting final few innings: Dartmouth took the lead in the sixth, Brown reclaimed it in the seventh and the Big Green tied it back up in the eighth. The ninth was scoreless before Bruno clinched the win in the 10th.

It was another great offensive outpouring from Bruno, which posted 11 hits and drew four walks. Robert Henry ’17, Noah Shulman ’16 and Massey each went 2-for-5, and Kevin Guthrie ’16 was 1-for-5 with two RBIs.

Taugner was not as sharp as usual, giving up five runs, four earned, on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts in six innings. But his replacement, Max Ritchie ’17 (W, 2-2), was the savior for the Bears, tossing four innings and allowing just one run, making the Bruno comeback and eventual win possible.

Saturday was the best day of the season for Bruno, with two wins over Ivy competition and some clutch hitting, both of which had been lacking earlier in the campaign. Assistant Coach Grant Achilles took pride in his team’s breakthrough, attributing its newfound success to a change in mindset.

“It was a mentality from our guys,” he said. “They believed they were going to win the game.”

Though Saturday was triumphant for Bruno, the Bears could not extend their winning streak into Sunday, dropping the first game of the second twin bill, 7-0.

Offensively, the slugging strength the Bears had the previous day vanished. Brown managed just four hits and three walks in the shutout, and three of those baserunners came in the seventh inning, when Bruno already trailed 7-0. Will Marcal ’15 was the only Bear to reach base twice.

Dave St. Lawrence ’15 (L, 1-5), last week’s Ivy League Pitcher of the Week, fell back to earth after his complete-game shutout. He gave up seven runs on nine hits over seven innings, though he did strike out six and walk just one.

In the final game of the weekend, Bruno failed to capitalize on its shot to claim its first series win of the season, falling to the Big Green 3-2.

For the second straight game, the bats went limp, as Bruno could scrape together only five hits. Half the Bears’ offense came from Massey’s second home run of the series. Seven innings of two-run ball from Lucas Whitehill ’14 (L, 1-4) were not enough, as reliever Chris Smith ’15 gave up the winning run in the eighth.

Despite the two losses Sunday, Achilles said he was happy with what he saw out of his team.

“The energy stayed high,” he said. “We gave ourselves a chance. … The outcome’s not always going to be what we wanted, but that’s baseball.”

Grabbing its fourth win since Drabinski’s resignation, the team has found more success in every area of the game. But Achilles did not consider the coaching change the reason for Bruno’s reversal of fortunes.

“We’re getting a bounce here and a bounce there, and key hits in key situations,” he said. “The end result’s been better, and I think guys are sticking to the process a lot more as the season goes on.”

With the pair of losses, the Bears are officially eliminated from Ivy title contention. This may have seemed like a foregone conclusion just two weeks ago, when the Bears were 0-8 in conference, so the team’s ability to stave off elimination until Sunday was an achievement in itself.

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