The softball team entered its third weekend of the season with a 7-3 record and plenty of momentum, having won six of its past eight games. But at the College of Charleston Invitational in South Carolina, it ran into early trouble.
Taking on Connecticut (10-18), the Bears (8-7) went behind early, as their opponents scored two runs in the bottom of the first without recording a hit. With Katie Orona ’18 on the mound, the Huskies scored their runs on three walks and two hit-by-pitches. Connecticut went on to add additional scoring in the third and fourth. Meanwhile, the Bears managed only one hit — a single from Annie Scarangella ’19 — and could not capitalize, leading to a 7-0 shutout loss.
In Friday’s nightcap, Gina Chiefallo ’17 took the mound. Five of her innings were almost flawless: After the first, she allowed no runs and only two hits. Unfortunately for Brown, the first inning provided all the scoring that Eastern Michigan (9-14) would need. The Eagles scored four in the first and managed to hold on for the win. The Bears loaded the bases in the fourth but came away with only one run, their lone score of the game.
After a winless Friday, the Bears entered their Saturday game against Central Connecticut State (6-11) looking to right the ship. With Orona back on the mound, they struck early: In the bottom of the second, captain Julia Schoenewald ’17 doubled and moved to third on a single from Christina Andrews ’17. After Schoenewald scored on a sacrifice fly from Sofia Venegas ’19, Lauren Hanna ’17 bunted for a hit to load the bases. But the Bears could not capitalize any more than they already had, as both Scarangella and captain Janet Leung ’16 struck out to end the threat.
The Bears suffered no dearth of scoring chances — they left the bases loaded in the second and third, stranding twelve runners overall. One run was all Bruno could manage, and it was almost enough until the top of the seventh, when Orona allowed the Blue Devils to tie and force extra innings.
In extras, the Bears finally struck. After Orona retired the side in the top of the eighth, Venegas, by rule, was placed on second to begin the Bears’ half. A bunt single from Hanna moved her to third and brought up Scarangella, who had earlier struck out with the bases loaded.
The first-year redeemed herself, driving a double to left to score Venegas and win the game for the Bears.
After the win, the Bears moved into Sunday’s doubleheader at full strength once again. But in the first inning against Miami University, Orona surrendered three runs — two earned — and the Bears found themselves behind.
Bruno did not go quietly, tying the game in the third on RBI from Schoenewald and Ashli Lotz ’19. When Miami (14-11) scored in the fifth, the Bears answered back again with another Lotz RBI. But Miami scored twice more in the top of the sixth, and this time, the Bears had no answer. In the seventh, down two runs, Lotz came to the plate as the tying run but struck out to end the game.
In their final contest of the weekend, the Bears took on host College of Charleston (18-10) and, with Leah Nakashima ’17 on the mound, looked to close their weekend on a positive note. But once again, the first inning proved to be the Bears’ undoing. An error, a triple and a double led to two unearned first-inning runs for the Cougars, and Charleston added three more runs in the second on two more errors. As the home team continued holding Bruno scoreless and added three runs in the third, the game slipped out of reach for the Bears. The mercy rule ended the game in Charleston’s favor after five innings, 8-0.
The Bears have now concluded the southern stretch of their season, and starting Wednesday at Hartford, they will take on opponents closer to home. Still, their schedule is no picnic: Bruno has 14 more road games before its home opener April 9. Ivy competition begins April 1, when the Bears play a doubleheader at Penn.
Bruno did not end the first stretch of its season on a strong note, but its improvement is visible. Last year, the Bears were 4-6 after their first few road trips. This year, their strong start has shown that they are no longer an opponent to be taken lightly.