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French ’16 leads baseball to lone win over Harvard

Senior totals 11 strikeouts in Sunday victory, Bears fall in three close contests to division rival Harvard

The men’s baseball team traveled north to take on Red Rolfe division foe Harvard in a four-game series Saturday and Sunday.

Harvard 2, Brown 1

Starting pitcher Christian Taugner ’17 looked to stay perfect in Ivy play with what would have been his fourth-straight win against the Crimson (15-21, 8-8 Ivy). The junior was even more dominant than usual early in the contest, as he racked up seven strikeouts in 3.2 innings. But Harvard still managed to grab an early 1-0 lead off a Brown (12-22, 6-10) error in the bottom of the second.

The Bears tied the game in the top of the fifth thanks to an RBI single by Sam Grigo ’18, but Harvard responded with a run in the following frame.

Harvard starter Nick Gruener matched Taugner all game, locking up the complete-game win with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.

Taugner finished having thrown six innings, allowing only five hits and walking none. Bruno managed five hits, including two from Kevin Guthrie ’16.

Harvard 4, Brown 3

Harvard jumped out to a 3-1 lead after one inning in Saturday’s second contest. Reid Anderson ’18 was on the hill for Brown, still in search of his first win of the season.

Jake Levine ’16 hit a solo home run in the third to bring the Bears within one.

Anderson regrouped after a shaky first inning, dueling with Harvard starter Sean Poppen and holding down the Crimson offense as the game progressed. Anderson threw seven innings, letting up three earned runs and striking out eight.

“It’s always been said that ‘good pitching beats good hitting,’ and I think this was an instance where it was just tough to get that big hit when we needed it,” said Head Coach Grant Achilles. “We certainly had chances, but they did a really good job executing their pitching.”

Brown trailed 4-2 heading into the top of the ninth, but a comeback looked possible as Brian Ginsberg ’18 deposited a pitch from Harvard’s Nick Scahill over the left-field fence with one out. But Scahill regrouped to record the final two outs and complete the Saturday sweep.

Brown hitters struck out 11 times in the contest, while adding seven hits.

Brown 6, Harvard 0

Bruno jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a five-hit bottom of the third, highlighted by RBI singles from Levine and Guthrie.

Austin French ’16 looked to snap a three-game losing streak on the mound for the Bears. The senior was dominant from start to finish, racking up 11 strikeouts, seven of which came in the first three innings. Harvard managed just five hits off French in what was arguably his most impressive start of the season.

“French threw the ball really well and kept hitters off balance,” Achilles said. “Anytime you get a performance like that, it’s usually just going to take one or two runs to beat the other team.”

Brown added three more runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach, courtesy of a bases-clearing double from Josh Huntley ’17.

Harvard 6, Brown 0

The tables turned for the Bears in game two, as the Crimson used a steady offensive output to put the game away early.

Harvard totaled 10 hits and all six of its runs in the first 3.2 innings off of Brown starter Max Ritchie ’17. Harvard’s Shaun Rubin was stellar in comparison, going seven innings for the victory.

Bobby Leyman ’19, JJ Sliepka ’19 and Dante Bosnic ’18 combined to hold Harvard scoreless over 4.1 innings out of the bullpen.

Bruno will host Ocean State rival Bryant Tuesday before a home-and-home series with division-leader Yale Friday and Saturday. The Bears need a 4-0 weekend and a series split between Harvard and Dartmouth to have a chance at sneaking into the Ivy League Championship series as division champions.

“The biggest part is just to remember that we’re good when we stick to who we are,” Achilles said.


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