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Baseball recovers from early setbacks

After a pair of low-scoring losses to Marist on Tuesday, the baseball team's bats woke up on Wednesday in a win over UConn. Brown's record now stands at 14-18 overall, 5-7 in the Ivy League.

In the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, the Bears managed just seven hits in the seven-inning game, and pitcher Mark Gormley '11 allowed four runs in the bottom of the first inning to dig Bruno into an early hole. In the bottom of the sixth inning, a throwing error by Gormley and a fielding error by shortstop Matt Nuzzo '09 prolonged the inning for Marist and resulted in another five runs for the Red Foxes, giving them a 9-1 lead.

"We have to make at least one of those plays," said Head Coach Marek Drabinski. "We lost because of our lack of clutch hitting, and our defense."

The Bears got three runs on the board in the top of the seventh, but the comeback effort fell short, and Marist took the opener 9-4. Nuzzo and designated hitter Conor Reardon '08 led the offense, each picking up two hits and driving in a run.

In the second game, the Red Foxes took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, and added another three in the second, to build another 4-0 lead early in the game.

In the top of the third, first baseman J.J. Eno '08 hit a one-out double, and Reardon followed with a single to put men on first and third. Eno came home to score on Nuzzo's RBI double, and right fielder Nick Punal '10 hit a ground ball to the left side to drive in Reardon and cut Marist's lead to 4-2.

But that was all the offense Brown would produce, and the Bears came out on the losing end again, despite a solid start from Rob Wilcox '10, who, after falling behind 4-0, allowed just one run over the next four innings. Nuzzo struggled again in the field, committing his 11th and 12th errors of the season.

"We have to get back to how we played at the beginning of the season, just having fun playing the game," Nuzzo said. "Baseball is one of those games where you hit slumps ... and if you let it get to your mind, it will eat you up every day."

The Brown offense broke out of that slump on Wednesday, when a nine-run sixth inning propelled the Bears to a 14-10 win.

Starting pitcher Joe Rued '09 got off to a rough start, loading the bases with one out in the top of the first. But Josh Feit '11 came in and got a strikeout and a ground ball out to hold the Huskies scoreless. After struggling in his recent outings, Feit gave Brown a strong performance on Wednesday, allowing one earned run across three and two-thirds innings of work.

In the bottom of the inning, Reardon got the Bears on the board with a two-run homer to left field, his first home run of the season.

The Huskies scored their first run of the game in the top of the third, on a throwing error by tri-captain third baseman Rob Papenhause '09. They added another run later in the inning, to tie the game at two.

In the top of the fifth, with Matt Kimball '11 in to pitch, UConn took a 3-2 lead and threatened to add more, but centerfielder Steve Daniels '09 gunned down a runner at home to end the inning.

The Huskies increased their lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth, but in the bottom of the inning, the Bears took control of the game. Brown sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, an inning that included seven hits, two walks, a UConn error, two wild pitches and a dropped third strike that allowed the batter to reach base and a run to score. At the end of the sixth, the Bears held a commanding 12-4 lead.

In the top of the seventh, the Huskies cut into the lead. With runners on first and second and one out, Papenhause made his second error of the game when a ground ball skipped by him, allowing a run to score. Later in the play, left fielder Brian Kelaher '08 made a wild throw in to third base, allowing another run. The next hitter laced an RBI double to left field, making the score 12-7. Peter Moskal '08 came on in relief and, with great command of his breaking pitches, got two consecutive strikeouts to hold the lead.

In the eighth inning, with runners at the corners, a wild throw back to the pitcher from catcher Matt Colantonio '11 gave UConn another run, but Punal's two-run double in the bottom of the inning provided some insurance runs for Bruno.

Tri-captain Rob Hallberg '08 came in to pitch the ninth, giving up a two-run homer but nothing more, securing a 14-10 win for Brown.

Brown will resume Ivy League competition with a four-game series at Harvard this weekend, but unfortunately, they will have to play without tri-captain left fielder Ryan Murphy '08, who will likely miss the remainder of his senior season because of a stress fracture in his foot.



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