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Baseball stops losing streak, splitting Holy Cross series

The baseball team snapped out of a five-game losing skid with a 5-3 home win over Holy Cross in the first game of a doubleheader on Wednesday. It looked as if the team's luck would continue when the Bears jumped out to a seven-run lead in the second game, but the Crusaders came back for a 14-12 win over Bruno. The team's record now stands at 15-24 overall.

In the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader, starting pitcher Josh Feit '11 turned in his strongest performance since his collegiate debut in the first game of the season. After allowing three runs, all of them unearned, in the top of the first inning, Feit settled down and shut out Holy Cross, and only allowed one hit in his next four and two-third innings of work.

"In the first two or three innings, he struggled a little with command of his fastball, and he was missing in on a lot of hitters with his fastball," said Head Coach Marek Drabinski. "In the third or fourth inning, he started to locate his fastball away, and he was able to throw strike one a lot more. ... He did a great job of battling through those first two innings and finding his groove."

The Bears got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, cutting Holy Cross's lead to 3-2. With the bases loaded, left fielder Brian Kelaher '08 hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring tri-captain third baseman Rob Papenhause '09. After first baseman JJ Eno '08 earned a walk to load the bases again, center fielder Steve Daniels '09 drove in a run with an infield single.

In the bottom of the next frame, right fielder Nick Punal '10 came to the plate with two outs and Papenhause on second base. As he has done consistently all year, Punal, a lefty, took the pitch the other way and drove an RBI single through the left side to tie the game at three.

Punal has emerged as one of Brown's top hitters in his sophomore season, with a .361 batting average, the third-highest on the team, and 31 RBI, second-best for the Bears.

In the bottom of the sixth, second baseman Ryan Zrenda '11 hit an RBI single to put Bruno up 4-3, and shortstop Matt Nuzzo '09 followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Bears a two-run cushion.

Anthony Vita '08 came in to relieve Feit with two outs in the top of the sixth, and retired all four batters he faced to secure the win for the Bears.

In the second game, Brown again found itself down 3-0 in the early innings, but the bottom of the third produced big results for the Bears.

Daniels drove an RBI single to right to score left fielder Chris Tanabe '10 for Bruno's first run of the game. Tanabe, who has made just six starts all season, stepped up for Brown on Wednesday, picking up two hits and two walks. He scored two runs and drove in another three, in addition to making a spectacular sliding catch in the top of the second inning.

"Chris, to me, is a very good role player, and he had a great day for us," Drabinski said. "He made a great catch early in the game, and he had a couple big hits for us."

Daniels came around to score on an error, and Papenhause laced an RBI double down the left field line to tie the game. With runners on second and third with one out, the Crusaders looked to their bullpen, but to no avail.

Catcher Matt Colantonio '11, Punal, and designated hitter Pete Greskoff '11 greeted reliever Dmitri Seredenko with back-to-back-to-back doubles, increasing Brown's lead to 7-3 and knocking Seredenko out of the game. Tanabe's seeing-eye single through the right side, a pair of passed balls, two walks, and Zrenda's bloop single to left field kept the rally going, and when all was said an done, the Bears had a 10-3 lead.

Holy Cross cut the lead to 10-5 in the top of the fourth, and starter Matt Boylan '10 was pulled after two consecutive wild pitches.

A two-run double off the bat of Tanabe gave Brown back its seven-run cushion in the bottom of the inning.

But the Crusaders came roaring back, scoring nine unanswered runs over the final three innings, as Rob Wilcox '10, Peter Moskal '08, and tri-captain Rob Hallberg '08 all struggled out of the bullpen. In the bottom of the seventh, Daniels led off with a single, but Zrenda, Nuzzo and Papenhause were unable to continue the comeback effort, and the Bears fell short, 14-12.

"Our pitchers probably missed thirty pitches to the wrong side of the plate in that game, and I don't know why that is. Our command was just not there," Drabinski said.

This weekend, Brown will host Yale for a doubleheader on Saturday, followed by a doubleheader in New Haven, Conn. against Yale on Sunday. On Wednesday, the Bears will finish up their season with a game at Bryant.



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