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Baseball falters against Patriots’ solid offense 2-1 in away series

Bruno unable to match the Patriots’ explosive scoring in non-conference road defeats

The baseball team fell in a three-game series on the road to Dallas Baptist University this weekend, losing their first two contests 17-2 and 14-4 before claiming a 9-5 victory in their final matchup Sunday. The Bears moved to 4-7 on the season and halted a six-game losing streak following a series defeat at the University of California, Berkeley last weekend.

“I think we definitely dug some holes for ourselves — we had the opportunity to make plays defensively and then execute some pitches at times that we didn’t do,” said Head Coach Grant Achilles. “But … we competed, especially (in) game three. We did a great job on the mound offensively and defensively, making the Dallas Baptist team really play our game. (I’m) really proud of our guys and how they finished the weekend.”

Brown 2, Dallas Baptist 17

In the series opener, the Bears (4-7) were outmatched from the first pitch, as the Patriots (11-7) managed to cross the plate six times in the first two innings alone. In total, Dallas Baptist hit seven home runs and recorded 19 hits. Infielder Garett Delano ’20 hit Bruno’s lone home run of the game, and catcher Mark Sluys ’19 tallied an RBI on a sacrifice fly.

“Rebounding from the kind of loss we took (in the first game) is all about turning the page — something I think this group is really good at,” wrote center fielder Sam Grigo ’18 in an email to The Herald. Strong performances on the mound from relief pitchers Calvin Farris ’20 and Dustin Baird ’20 were highlights of the game, Grigo added. “(They) did a great job battling and soaking up much needed innings in relief against a team that can really swing it.”

Brown 4, Dallas Baptist 14

The following day, Bruno stood firm in the opening innings and kept the score close with the Patriots. In the top of the fifth inning, Brown trimmed Dallas Baptist’s lead to two after shortstop Louis Gaitley ’21 hit a single that sent second baseman Rich Ciufo ’20 sprinting across home plate for a run.

“One of my main goals for the season is to have quality at bats and help the team in anyway I can,” Ciufo wrote in an email to The Herald. “If each guy comes into each game confident and willing to do whatever it takes to help the team, we will be very successful.”

But the wheels quickly fell off for the Bears, as the bottom of the fifth saw the Patriots score five runs to put the game out of reach for Bruno. A rain delay postponed the game in the seventh inning, but Brown could not turn the tide in the final innings the next morning, eventually falling 14-4.

Brown 9, Dallas Baptist 5

In the final game of the series later that afternoon, the Bears jumped out to an early lead when Grigo hit a two-run single to left field. In the fifth inning, starting pitcher Delano threw his way out of a bases-loaded jam, leading the Bears out of the frame unscathed to preserve the team’s slim advantage.

In the eighth inning, Brown’s bats caught fire as the Bears notched five runs — including a two-run moonshot by Ciufo — to put the game out of reach for the Patriots. The Bears recorded 11 hits in the four-run victory.

“We have a team that — freshmen through seniors — does an awesome job showing up every day with confidence regardless of what happened the day before,” Grigo wrote. “Baseball is too hard and too random to sweat our results on a game-to-game basis, and we have a group that’s always focused.”

The Bears will begin Ivy League play next weekend, facing off with Penn in a three-game series on the road.

“Our team is very confident right now. From just the health perspective, we’re really counting on getting some guys back and getting guys healthy this week,” Achilles said. “I’m just hopeful that this is going to be a very positive week for us to build into going into Ivy play.”

Brown will host Ocean State rival Bryant University for the team’s home opener at Murray Stadium March 27.


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