The baseball team split its first home series of the year, winning games one and four of its home opener over Fairfield University, but dropping both contests of a Saturday doubleheader.
In the series’ first game, right fielder Garett Delano ’20 hit a go-ahead single in the eighth inning and Will Tomlinson ’20 pitched a save to lock up the 5-3 win. But the Bears blew six run leads in each game of Saturday’s doubleheader, falling by scores of 7-6 and 13-8. Then on Sunday, Bruno was on the right side of a comeback, storming back from an 8-6 deficit in the seventh inning to defeat the Stags 9-8.
Several Bears enjoyed strong weekends at the plate, including catcher Parke Phillips ’20 (6-16 with 5 RBI), Delano (5-14, 2 RBI) and right fielder/pitcher Calvin Farris ’20 (5-14, 2 RBI).
“Up and down the lineup we had guys that performed really well at different times,” said Head Coach Grant Achilles.
Fairfield (4-10) opened scoring in the first contest with an RBI double from Dan Ryan. But Brown (3-11) battled back to a 2-2 tie, and shortstop Rich Ciufo ’20 blasted a home run to left field to put the Bears ahead. In the eighth, the Stags tied the game back up at three, but Delano’s single and an RBI double from catcher Mark Sluys ’19 gave Bruno the 5-3 victory. JJ Sliepka ’19 earned the win on the mound.
Brown started off strong in the series’ second tilt, the first game of Saturday’s back-to-back duels. After the Bears jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, Ciufo launched another homer, scoring his teammates Sluys and Phillips. A Delano RBI double extended Bruno’s advantage to six runs. But Brown collapsed, getting shut out in the game’s final three innings while giving up seven runs to the Stags.
It was more of the same for Bruno in game two of the doubleheader, as they again used an early offensive outburst to pull ahead 6-0, but could not hold on to the lead. Fairfield put 13 runs on the board along with 15 hits. For the second consecutive game, Brown’s offense and pitching were ineffective in the later innings.
“Doubleheaders can be long days down here at the field,” Ciufo said. “But when we bring focus and play as a team and compete every single pitch, we usually come out on top.”
Game four of the series appeared to follow a similar pattern, as the Bears built up a 6-2 lead with the help of a home run from second baseman Cameron Deere ’20. Brown once again gave up the lead, as the Stags scored three runs apiece in the fifth and sixth innings to take an 8-6 advantage. This time, though, Bruno fought back. Two RBI singles in the seventh followed by a go-ahead RBI single in the eighth from left fielder Frank Caprio ’19.5 put the Bears in front. Farris pitched two scoreless innings to close out the Brown victory.
“We got some good pitching at the end today (and) certainly Calvin Farris coming in and shutting the door was key,” Achilles said. “You just can’t back down and never believe it’s going to be over until it is.”
“We’ve faced a lot of adversity as a team up to this point in the season,” Farris said. “When we came back in the eighth inning and took the lead, it gave me a lot of fire.”
Brown will next return to Attanasio Family Field for a three-game tilt against Yale to open the team’s Ivy League schedule this weekend. The Bears will then complete their homestand with a matchup against Ocean State rival Bryant University Tuesday March 26.