The Bears fell three games behind Dartmouth in the Red Rolfe division this weekend as Bruno (7-24, 4-8 Ivy) dropped three of four games in a home series against the Big Green (12-15, 7-5 Ivy).
"They're better," Head Coach Marek Drabinski said of the Big Green after Bruno lost both games of the doubleheader Sunday. "They got more guys that step up."
The Bears started off the weekend strong, jumping to a 3-0 lead in game one via RBIs from designated hitter Mike DiBiase '12 and third baseman Nick Fornaca '15 RBI in the second inning and first baseman Cody Slaughter's '13 solo home run in the third. Starting pitcher Heath Mayo '13 went five strong innings, holding Dartmouth to two runs and striking out six. Despite his efforts and the Bears' early outburst, the game was deadlocked at 3-3 at the end of the regulation seven innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Bears rode an unusual rally to the win. With Slaughter on first and two outs, shortstop Graham Tyler '12 reached on an error, DiBiase was hit by a pitch, and Fornaca won it with a walk-off walk - to a 4-3 extra-inning victory.
The Bears looked to be in control again most of the way through game two, putting together small rallies in the third, fifth and sixth innings to take a 5-2 lead into the seventh behind a strong start by Anthony Galan '14. But the Big Green lit up Galan and Kevin Carlow '13 for seven runs late and Bruno fell 9-5.
Dartmouth was in command from the get-go in game three, scoring five runs (all unearned) in the top of the first. By the time Slaughter's third inning RBI single put the Bears on the board, the Big Green had scored 10 times. Dartmouth starter Kyle Hunter kept Bruno's bats at bay for the rest of his complete game as the Bears fell 12-1.
The Bears appeared to be on their way to a series split in game four as they opened up a 3-1 lead in the third on designated hitter Daniel Massey's '14 RBI single and catcher Wes Van Boom's '14 two-run single. The team scored again in the fourth as center fielder Matt DeRenzi's '14 sacrifice fly plated right fielder Will Marcal '15.
The Big Green rallied to take a 5-4 lead. Marcal tied the game with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, but Dartmouth added four more in the top of the eighth. Down to their last out, the Bears had the tying run on deck in the ninth, but could not score and fell 9-5.
"They just outplayed us," Massey said. "We had a lot of opportunities. We gave up a lot of leads."
Drabinski blamed the losses on the Bears' playing with less precision, specifically citing walks and hit by pitches - Bruno pitchers walked or beaned 20 batters this weekend, compared to Dartmouth's 10. Making mistakes against the Big Green is fatal, Drabinski said. "They're never going to do us that favor."
Bruno next hosts Holy Cross Wednesday for a doubleheader. Conference action continues this weekend when Bruno heads to Harvard (8-25, 4-8) for a four-game series. The Crimson are tied with the Bears for second place in the division. Bruno has eight Ivy games left to make up the three-game deficit in the division, but second baseman JJ Franco '14 still thinks the Bears can win it. "You can't play like there isn't a chance," he said.