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Baseball team splits games with Princeton, falls to Cornell

The baseball team's Ivy season continued at home this weekend as the Bears dropped both games of a doubleheader against Cornell Saturday and split two games with Princeton Sunday.

Bruno (5-21, 3-5 Ivy) struck early in the first game against Cornell (21-6-1, 7-1), scoring four runs in the second inning on second baseman JJ Franco's '14 two-run double, left fielder Matt DeRenzi's '14 RBI single and first baseman Cody Slaughter's '13 sacrifice fly. The Bears added two more in the third on third baseman Nick Fornaca's '15 sacrifice fly and DeRenzi's RBI single and plated three more runs in the fourth via Slaughter's RBI single and center fielder John Sheridan's '13 RBI triple to build a 9-5 lead.

But the Big Red rallied to tie it in the seventh, and the game went to extra innings. Cornell finally broke the stalemate with an RBI single in the 11th inning. In their final at-bat, the Bears moved a runner to third with only one out, but they failed to score and Cornell prevailed 10-9.

"We just let them hang in there," pitcher Anthony Galan '14 said. "We kept walking guys, we kept allowing a lot of baserunners. ... We didn't exactly pitch to win."

Game two was not as close. The Bears took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on catcher Wes Van Boom's '14 RBI double and Franco's RBI single, but Cornell rallied for seven runs in the next two innings to take the lead for good. Bruno did get offensive contributions from left fielder Daniel Massey's '14 sacrifice fly and right fielder Will Marcal's '15 solo home run, but it was not enough as the Big Red won 12-5.

"Everything that could've went wrong, went wrong," Galan said, who started the game for the Bears. "I didn't have my best stuff working." Cornell's five-run fourth inning set the tone for the rest of his outing, Galan said. "If I didn't have that one inning, it would've been a clean start."

Another blow to the Bears was that Sheridan dislocated his shoulder on a swing in the second inning. The starting center fielder had to be removed from the game and missed Sunday's action. Galan said the team does not know how long Sheridan will be unable to play, but that the dislocation does not seem to be too serious. "I don't think it's career-ending," he said.

Bruno failed to get on the board at all in the first game against Princeton (12-12, 6-2). The Tigers set the tone with a seven-run first inning. Princeton starting pitcher Matt Bowman threw a complete game shutout, scattering six hits and two walks over seven innings while racking up 12 strikeouts as the Tigers won 8-0. It is "hard to really try to come back" after falling behind so dramatically at the start of the game, Galan said.

But the Bears bounced back in game two. Fornaca's RBI double and Massey's RBI single gave Bruno a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Shortstop Graham Tyler '12 added a three-run double in the bottom of the third to extend the lead to 5-0. Marcal's RBI single made it 6-0 in the fifth, and despite not getting a single hit, the Bears scored five runs and batted around in the bottom of the sixth in a messy inning for Princeton's defense. Van Boom's RBI double and Marcal's RBI single in the seventh made it 13-0 Bears.

Starting pitcher Mark Gormley '12 shut out the Tigers through seven innings, allowing only five hits and two walks. Princeton added six runs in the final two innings, but the Bears' offensive outburst combined with Gormley's strong start gave Bruno a 13-6 victory to end the weekend.

Galan said the team was motivated to finish the weekend on a high note after losing the first three games. "We felt like our backs were against the wall, and we needed to come out hitting and pitching well," he said.

Overall, Galan called it "a bad weekend," citing the extra-inning loss to Cornell as a game Bruno should have won. "We could've easily been 2-2," he said. The Bears would have been tied with Dartmouth (8-14, 4-4) for first place in the Red Rolfe division had they won one more game this weekend.

The Bears' next game is at home against the University of Connecticut Wednesday afternoon. Their next conference games will come when they host Dartmouth in a critical four-game series April 14-15.

Galan said there is a minor rivalry between the Bears and the first-place Big Green. "I'm really excited to play," he said. "If we can take three games, that would be unbelievable."

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