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Baseball drops three to No. 1 Gamecocks

Bruno shut out in three-game series in Columbia, S.C., but not discouraged by lopsided results

In its regular-season opener, the men’s baseball team failed to score a run in three losses against the top-ranked University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

The Bears (0-3) played a national contender to open the season for the third time in four years, and though they have obviously struggled, the tough competition has provided a great opportunity for the Bears to measure up against the nation’s elite early in the year.

The two ball clubs were originally scheduled to play three games in three days, but inclement weather forced them to postpone Friday’s game and play a doubleheader Saturday.


South Carolina 13, Brown 0

The season’s first game did not go well for Bruno, as its pitchers yielded 13 runs on 18 hits to the powerful offense of the Gamecocks (15-0), while the hitters managed just four base hits.

Starting pitcher Anthony Galan ’14 (L, 0-1) lasted 4.1 innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and three walks while striking out three. His line may look ugly, but given that his first start of the season came against such tough opposition, it is far from terrible.

The first pitcher to relieve Galan, Kevin Guthrie ’16, struggled even more. He gave up five more runs on five hits while recording just four outs. But the final Bruno pitcher to take the mound, Chris Smith ’15, gave up just one run on four hits in 2.1 innings.

The four hits came from four different players, including center fielder Rob Henry ’17 and right fielder Will Marcal ’15.

Head Coach Marek Drabinski was not overly concerned with the outcome, given the competition. “They are extremely good,” he said.

J.J. Franco ’14 said he thinks the Bears will see improved results the more they play.

“This was our first chance to play live,” Franco said. “We faced a pretty good pitching staff.”


South Carolina 8, Brown 0

The second game saw improvement from the Bears, who allowed five fewer runs and notched two more hits but still failed to cross home plate.

Dave St. Lawrence ’15 (L, 0-1) put in a strong pitching performance, tossing seven innings and giving up just four earned runs — five total — despite giving up six hits and five walks. Reliever Nathan Mann ’15 allowed three runs and got just two outs, though none of the runs were earned due to a fielding error by Marc Sredojevic ’17.

Drabinski said he was happy with St. Lawrence’s performance, saying he “could have given up just one run. … (He) pitched well enough to win.”

Once again, no player had a multi-hit game, though pinch hitters Nate Kukowski ’14 and Guthrie both had base knocks. Henry and Daniel Massey ’14 both got hits for the second straight game.

“The more you do it, the better you get,” Franco said, referring to the team’s better showing in the second matchup of the series.

Drabinski agreed, saying the team “pitched better each day.”

South Carolina 1, Brown 0

Signaling more progress, the Bears locked down the South Carolina offense, giving up only one run on seven hits, though they recorded only four hits themselves and came up short once again.

Christian Taugner ’17 turned in the line of the weekend Sunday with a performance that would look good at the MLB level: seven innings pitched, seven hits, one earned run, two walks, three strikeouts. With his “outstanding” performance, as Drabinski said, Taugner is now a “lock” to earn a coveted spot in the conference starting rotation.

Similarly impressive was the hitless inning of relief fired by Lucas Whitehill ’14, who Drabinski said “made (the Gamecocks) look silly.”

Massey stretched his hitting streak to three games, belting a double that was also Brown’s only extra-base hit of the game. The Bears’ offense threatened, putting runners in scoring position with only one out multiple times, but could not quite find a way to tie the score.

“(We) had some opportunities and left them on the field,” Drabinski said. “Offensively, we (have) a lot of work to do.” But he also acknowledged that “we’re not going to face that staff every game.”

Despite the lopsided results, Franco expressed optimism about the rest of the season for Bruno. “I think we can take a lot of positives,” he said, adding that the team was “walking away pretty confident.”

“Now we know exactly what we need to work on,” he said.

Drabinski was similarly upbeat. “I was disappointed, but that’s done,” he said. “I think we’ll be fine.”

The Bears take the field again Friday at George Mason University.

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