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Baseball loses two of three in series against Harvard

Bears hand Crimson first Ivy League defeat of season in series finale

<p>In the first game, Brown did not go down without a fight, getting one run back in the second on an RBI single to the opposite field by right-fielder Jackson Hipp ’22.</p><p>Courtesy of Brown Athletics</p>

In the first game, Brown did not go down without a fight, getting one run back in the second on an RBI single to the opposite field by right-fielder Jackson Hipp ’22.

Courtesy of Brown Athletics

The baseball team (5-14, 2-4 Ivy League) went 0-2 against Harvard (13-9, 5-1) in a Saturday doubleheader but came back to claim the series finale on Sunday. The win puts the Bears in fourth place in the Ivy League, keeping them in the running for the postseason.

In a statement provided to Brown Athletics, Head Coach Grant Achilles noted that the young team showed resilience despite its Saturday performance in Cambridge. With a win against the Ivy League powerhouse Harvard to cap off the weekend — the Crimson’s first loss of the season in Ivy League play — Achilles said he feels even more optimistic about the Bears’ future.

“The goal is always to win as many as you can, but to avoid a sweep on the road gives you a fighting chance moving forward,” Achilles said to Brown Athletics. “You want to take care of business every step of the way and this gives us momentum heading into next week.”

Harvard 17, Brown 7

In the first game of the series, the Bears fell to the Crimson in a loss during which the Bears played from a deficit from the first inning onwards. Harvard came out asserting its dominance early, sending 15 batters to the plate and scoring 11 runs on 11 hits — including four doubles and two triples — in the bottom of the first. Eight of the runs scored with two outs. The Crimson added a run in each of the next two innings.

Brown did not go down without a fight, getting one run back in the second on an RBI single to the opposite field by right fielder Jackson Hipp ’22. In the third inning, the Bears had the bases loaded and scored another run on a dropped third strike.

Brown trailed 13-2 to begin the top of the sixth, but the Bears quickly decreased the deficit with a five-run rally. Third baseman Gunner Boree ’25 hit a double to left field to plate one run, after which first baseman Ryan Marra ’23 drew a walk to load the bases. Derian Morphew ’23 then hit a sacrifice fly to deep right-center field to score Hipp, cutting the lead to 13-4.

Reece Rappoli ’24, batting cleanup, grounded one just inside third base and down the left-field line for an RBI double. The Bears then took advantage of a throwing error and scored two more runs to cut the deficit to 13-7. But despite the Bears’ efforts to get back in the game, Harvard added four runs in the eighth inning on four hits, resulting in a 17-7 defeat.

“We knew Harvard was a really good team, and we would have to do all the small things right to be able to beat them on the road,” Rappoli said. “Obviously Saturday didn’t go as we wanted it to but to be able to come back Sunday and steal a win showed how tough this team can be. We really rallied around each other and we were willing to do anything that could help us get the win.”

 

Harvard 7, Brown 1

In game two of the three game series, Harvard again defeated Brown, this time by a score of 7-1. Tobey McDonough ’23 started on the mound for the Bears, allowing just one run on three hits through the first five innings. After a scoreless first inning for both teams, Harvard went up 1-0 in the second with an unearned run after a throwing error. The Bears got on the board in the sixth frame with two outs when Jacob Burley ’23 came home on a wild pitch, drawing the score even at one apiece. =

The Crimson came right back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to two infield hits and a double to retake the lead at 3-1. Harvard manufactured an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh inning and added three more in the eighth to take control of the game with a 7-1 lead, tallying three hits in each inning. Harvard’s victory in game two completed a commanding offensive performance on the day, totalling 24 runs, 32 hits, eight doubles and three triples between the two games.

Brown 7, Harvard 5

The Bears managed to complete a rally in the third game of the series, defeating Harvard 7-5 to avoid the sweep. Five of the Bears' runs came with two outs in the seventh inning and helped hand Harvard its first loss in Ivy League play. Santhosh Gottam ’25 earned his second win of the year on the mound in relief, tossing 3 2/3 innings. The Bears’ pitching remained strong throughout the game, with Jack Seppings ’25 striking out four hitters in two scoreless innings to earn his first career save and seal the win.

“As we start to get into the thick of Ivy League play, we are starting to learn what it takes to win in this league,” Gottam said. “There’s still a lot of work to do, and every … little win matters. We learn from each other as a team and become better for it.”

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Brown got on the board in the second inning to jump to an early 1-0 lead. Baserunning proved to be key for the Bears’ offense with Charles Crawford ’24 racing to home from third base while Hipp distracted the Harvard infield during an intentional rundown between first and second.

The Crimson tied it up in the bottom of the second, capitalizing off of two hits and a wild pitch. Harvard then grabbed a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third on a Brown defensive error when a wide throw home skipped to the backstop. The Bears tied the game in the top of the fourth when Crawford drove a two-out double into the alley in right-center to plate Nathan Brasher ’25, who had reached base on a walk.

“We knew that every run counted and we had to be 100% locked in on every pitch of every game,” Crawford said. “After the tough start to Harvard, we knew this would help us take one from them.”

The score remained tied until the Bears’ seventh-inning two-out magic. Crawford once again proved valuable on the basepaths, making a crucial baserunning play by getting back to second base before Harvard could turn the double play off of a Burley lineout to the shortstop.

By staying on base and avoiding being doubled off to end the inning, Crawford’s heads-up play allowed Ray Sass ’23 to step to the plate with the bases loaded. With two outs, the “Masked Man” — the nickname Sass was given by his teammates because he wore a protective face mask after breaking his nose in game two — delivered a two-run single to left field to put the Bears in front for good.

The rally didn’t stop there. Next up, Marra, who went 3-for-4 in the game, worked a full count that ended with a line drive to the left-center field wall. The hit plated Sass and Hipp to extend the lead over Harvard 6-2. Morphew followed with a two-strike RBI single of his own to plate Marra, which made it 7-2.

The Crimson got three runs back in the bottom of the seventh on five hits against a pair of Brown relievers, with Brasher bailing Brown out of the inning with a defensive play to throw out a runner at third base. Harvard was unable to complete the comeback in the ninth due to a shut-out closing effort from Seppings.

The Bears remain enthusiastic and aim to continually build and grow from their team culture, Gottam said — a culture he hopes will give them an edge against their Ivy League competitors.

“We are continuing to work to build a championship culture,” Gottam said. “I am confident in our team to be in the thick of things as the season winds down, and we will continue to learn and improve.”

Brown will return home for a midweek non-conference matchup against the College of the Holy Cross on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. This weekend, the Bears will play a three-game series against Columbia at home.



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