The baseball team had lost seven consecutive games and 16 of its last 17 contests before Sunday afternoon and was in desperate need of a victory against Ivy rival Harvard. After dropping the first two games of a three-game series against the Crimson (6-6 Ivy, 16-17) Saturday, the Bears (4-11, 8-22) were finally victorious with a 7-3 victory the following day. With the weekend’s results, the team falls to last place in the Ivy League standings, with just six more conference contests remaining in the season.
“We certainly ended the weekend on a good note,” said Head Coach Grant Achilles. “It was a tough start to the weekend for us, facing a pitcher coming off of a no-hitter last weekend. We came out flat and didn’t play well at the start, but we certainly responded with a much better game two.”
Brown 1, Harvard 3
In the series opener, the Bears’s offense was stifled by impressive performances from the Crimson on the mound. Although Brown recorded six hits, the team was not able to make critical plays with runners in scoring position. Meanwhile, Harvard was able to capitalize during important at-bats, plating one run in the third inning and two in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Collin Garner ’21 “and the guys that threw out of the bullpen came out and pitched great in game one, but (Harvard pitcher Noah Zavolas) had all his stuff working and shut our offense down,” wrote center fielder Sam Grigo ’18 in an e-mail to The Herald. “That’s baseball sometimes.”
In the top of the ninth, infielder Garett Delano ’20 was able to put a stop to the Crimson’s shutout bid with a home run to deep center field, but his moonshot was not enough to bring the Bears back into the game.
“Our only goal is to get back to playing the kind of baseball we know we’re capable of — like how we played against Cal and Florida A&M early in the season,” Grigo wrote. “Things obviously haven’t gone the way we expected them to, but there’s still time to end on a positive note and build momentum for the program heading into next year.”
Brown 7, Harvard 8
Later that afternoon, Bruno was handed a crushing walk-off defeat by the Crimson. Early in the contest, Harvard looked poised for another dominant performance, knocking in two runs in the first inning. But the Bears evened the score in the second with a two-run homer from right fielder Joe Lomuscio ’21.
“I just tried to stay aggressive,” Lomuscio wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “I saw the ball well and tried to be a tough out every time out there.”
Harvard struck again with a three-run third inning, putting the Bears at a large deficit. Bruno stayed resilient and began to slowly trim the Crimson’s 5-2 lead, scoring a run in each of the fifth, seventh and eighth frames. But the Bears again had trouble generating clutch hits with runners in scoring position, as the team grounded into a bases-loaded double play to end the seventh inning. Bruno’s missed opportunity would prove costly later in the contest.
Brown entered the final frame at a two-run deficit, but the team delivered with timely hitting to tie the score. First baseman Hunter Carey ’18 managed to score on a groundout to cut the Crimson’s lead in half, and pinch hitter Brennan Vasquez ’21 capped the comeback with a two-out single.
But in the bottom of the ninth, the Bears were put on the ropes when Trent Bryan reached third base with just one out. Matt Rothenberg then recorded a pivotal hit to center field that brought Bryan home and gave Harvard the critical series victory.
“Of course, the walk-off loss stings, especially after battling back late,” Lomuscio wrote. “We fought hard and have to move on and focus on winning every pitch.”
Brown 7, Harvard 3
In the series finale, the Bears jumped out to a quick advantage in the first inning when third baseman Cameron Deere ’20 brought Grigo home on an RBI single.
In the top of the fifth, Bruno’s offense took control. Grigo launched a clutch home run to right field to send Lomuscio and Delano sprinting across home plate. At the end of the inning, Brown had extended its lead to four runs.
Starting pitcher Will Tomlinson ’20 was exceptional on the mound for five shutout innings, giving up just three hits and striking out two batters.
Deere knocked in another RBI with a single in the seventh inning, and Grigo scored on a wild pitch to widen Brown’s lead to six and secure the critical victory.
“It’s one of those times where you’re really proud of your team and how they respond,” Achilles said. “(Tomlinson) gave us a great start, and the bullpen did a good job coming back as well. To get the extra cushion with Grigo’s home run and then to tack on late as well after Delano hit the leadoff triple — that was very positive for us.”
The Bears will stay on the road this week, traveling to Albany to play Siena College Tuesday before facing Dartmouth in another three-game series over the weekend.