The baseball team (1-9) played a trio of close games over the weekend at Pennsylvania State University (9-5), picking up their first win of the season in the third game of the series after being handed two walk-off losses in the previous two games. The fourth game of the series, scheduled for Sunday, was canceled due to inclement weather.
Penn State 7, Brown 6
In the series opener on Friday, the Bears jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning with a solo homer from Ryan Marra ’23 and RBIs from Ray Sass ’23 and Derian Morphew ’23. Their three-run lead was the largest lead they had held at any point in the season so far.
But the Nittany Lions stormed back in the fifth inning, scoring four runs to snatch the lead. The rally knocked starting pitcher Tobey McDonough ’23, who had previously allowed just two hits and tallied four strikeouts over four scoreless innings, out of the game.
Reliever Carter Rasmussen ’26, who won Ivy League Rookie of the Week honors for his dominant performance against the University of New Orleans a week prior, held Penn State’s bats at bay, picking off an inherited runner and then retiring the first 10 batters he faced following McDonough’s exit.
The Bears retook the lead on back-to-back solo homers from Marra and Jacob Burley ’23 in the seventh and then added an insurance run on a Burley sacrifice fly in the ninth to make the score 6-4.
But in the final frame, the Nittany Lions regained life, opening their half of the inning with a homer and back-to-back doubles to even the score. With two outs and runners on the corners, Rasmussen induced a ground ball toward second base which could have sent the game to extras. But after diving to his left to reach the ball, a shifted Sass bounced the throw and Marra failed to pick it, allowing the run to score and Penn State to prevail 7-6.
Penn State 6, Brown 4 F/12
The opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader was another nail-biter, with possession of the lead seesawing between teams in the early innings. With the Nittany Lions up 3-2 after four innings, Marra clubbed a two-run blast — his third homer in under 24 hours — to give the Bears the lead.
“The key for me this weekend was just trusting my process and relaxing while enjoying the game,” Marra wrote in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics.
In the bottom of the sixth, Penn State re-tied the score on their fourth solo home run of the game.
But neither team was able to keep up the momentum on offense and the game remained tied until extra innings. Reliever Jack Seppings ’25 — who spent the week at the Great Britain national baseball team's minicamp for the World Baseball Classic — tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts and just one hit allowed in return.
The Bears seemed poised to pounce in the top of the 12th, loading the bases with one out, but failed to score after back-to-back strikeouts. Then, in the bottom of the inning, Penn State shortstop Jay Harry hit his second home run — and the team’s fifth — of the game to give the Nittany Lions a 6-4 victory.
“Losing stings, regardless of how it takes place. Going into every game with a fresh mindset allows us to reboot and control what we can, not what has already happened,” wrote Head Coach Grant Achilles in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. “Those first two games were the best baseball we had played all year, and the games truly came down to a couple of plays throughout the game.”
“While losing on the last play of the game two straight games can be demoralizing, we realized we outplayed them and just needed to stick to our approaches and process and the results would soon follow,” Marra wrote.
Brown 4, Penn State 3
In the series finale, the Bears scored four runs in the top of the third inning, which was all the team would need. The Bears concluded the weekend with a total of 14 runs and 29 hits across the three-game series.
“As the weekend went on, I thought our hitters did a good job of being aggressive in the strike zone early and competing at the edges with two strikes,” Achilles wrote. “We aren't a lineup built for power, but rather a well-rounded attack with speed, skill and quality at-bats.”
“The four-run third inning on Sunday showcased what we're capable of, and we had baserunners all weekend — we just need to cash in on those opportunities to put more distance between us and our opponents,” he added.
Marra once again led the Bears’ offensive effort by hitting a two-run double to open scoring. Marra finished the three-game set with six RBIs, tallying two in each game.
Bobby Olsen ’23 posted an impressive outing on the mound, throwing five innings of one-run, three-hit ball to pick up the first win of his Bears career, in addition to the Bears’ first of the season.
“It felt great, not only for me but for the team as a whole,” Olsen wrote in a message to The Herald. “It is just the result of the team’s determination going into this weekend. We played hard and came out Saturday ready to compete.”
Though the Nittany Lions cut Bruno’s lead to 4-3, Brown was able to hold on, with rookie Peter Dubie ’26 recording two perfect innings to secure the first save of his Bears career.
With their first win finally under their belt, the team will next face Bryant University in a doubleheader on Saturday. The game will be their home opener at Attanasio Family Field at Murray Stadium, and the series will be the Bears’ last before opening Ivy League play March 25 against Columbia.
“We feel very confident in the way we have been improving every game, and know this is just the start of our winning ways,” Marra wrote. “We are looking forward to being back on our home field and playing in front of a home crowd once again.”
“We are extremely excited going into this weekend,” Olsen wrote. “We are ready to compete.”
Linus is a sports editor from New York City. He is a junior concentrating in English, and when he's out of The Herald office you can find him rooting for the Mets, watching Star Wars or listening to The Beach Boys.