Ryan Zrenda '11 had a massive day at the plate Wednesday, hitting three home runs and notching five RBI. But the Brown pitching staff could not take advantage of their teammate's big day at the plate, and the Bears (5-17) dropped both ends of their doubleheader against the Siena Saints (12-15). Brown lost a close opener at Murray Stadium, losing 9-8 after blowing a 6-1 lead. The Saints' bats stayed strong in the second game, as four home runs helped them to an 11-7 victory.
Siena 9, Brown 8
The Bears' bats were working early in the opening game of the doubleheader, as they got on the scoreboard in the third inning. Matt Colantonio '11, Brown's leading hitter, led off the inning with a triple, and Zrenda drove him home with the first of his three home runs on the afternoon.
But Siena responded immediately, and continued to do so throughout the game. The Saints' Dan Paolini hit a solo shot to left field off Brad Kottman '13, slicing the Bears' lead in half, 2-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, Siena's left-hander Craig Marcellus lost his command, and Brown took advantage. After Marcellus walked two consecutive batters with two outs, Colantonio knocked a base hit up the middle for an RBI. The next batter, Pete Greskoff '11, cracked a three-run shot over the fence to grab a commanding 6-1 lead.
Siena came all the way back in the top of the sixth inning. Kyle Hudson's slow dribbler to third would have made the score 6-2, but a throwing error on the play by Greskoff brought in one more baserunner, pulling the Saints within three runs. The next batter, Anthony Giansanti, hit a three-run home run to left field off Rob Wilcox '10, and the game was suddenly tied.
But in the bottom of the sixth, Zrenda again gave the Bears a two-run lead. His second home run of the day made it 8-6 in Brown's favor.
"Ryan had a good day," said Head Coach Marek Drabinski. "He's a guy who has had a very good year thus far. He's one of our more consistent hitters. We count on him."
But Andrew Backowski '11 could not hold the lead in the final frame. Siena first baseman Kevin Quaranto hit a sharp double over first base, and an infield single later in the inning brought him in to cut the lead to 8-7.
But when Brown was within one out of a victory, Saints' catcher Kyle Barbato hit a clutch two-run single, giving the Saints the lead for good, 9-8.
"I was searching for answers," Drabinski said. "We know we can pitch a lot better than we pitched today."
Siena 11, Brown 7
The Saints came out swinging again in the second game. The first two Siena hitters took Cooper Smith '13 yard for back-to-back home runs, giving Siena a quick 2-0 lead.
The next inning, facing a 4-1 deficit, the Bears got back in the game. Josh Feit '11 doubled off the base of the wall and Nick Punal ‘10 had an opposite field base hit to bring Bruno within one run, 4-3.
But the Bears pitching staff disappointed again in the third inning. Siena catcher Gary DerHagopian extended the Siena lead to 6-3 with a base hit up the middle, and another single by Mike Fish brought in two more runs.
Despite the five-run deficit, Bruno had a golden opportunity to get back in the game in the bottom of the fourth. Both Mike DiBiase '12 and Colantonio worked the count to draw bases-loaded walks to cut the lead to three, 8-5. But Greskoff struck out and Zrenda popped up, and the Saints ran off the field relatively unscathed.
"We swung the bats well," Drabinski said. "But I still thought we left some opportunities out there. We had the bases loaded a few times, and didn't get any guys in."
Meanwhile, the Saints continued showing off their hot bats with another pair of consecutive home runs in the fifth inning. Giansanti first hit a two-run home run off Walter Albee '13, and Mike Allen followed him with a towering shot over the left field fence.
That pushed the lead to 11-5. But while the Bears hit back-to-back home runs of their own in the bottom of the seventh, courtesy of Zrenda and Joe Mellano '10, Brown could not come all the way back from the six-run deficit.
The Bears must now prepare for four key Ivy League games, as they host both Princeton and Cornell in doubleheaders over the weekend.
"We got a challenge ahead of us," Drabinski said, referring to his team's pitching for the upcoming weekend. "Hopefully, we can meet the challenge."