BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – The Brown baseball team (0-1) opened up its 2013 season with an impressive performance, giving #4 Louisiana State University (8-1) all that it could handle before ultimately falling, 4-3, in the bottom of the ninth inning.
"That was a great college baseball game," said head coach Marek Drabinski. "I thought our defense and pitching were very good for the most part. A couple of late leadoff walks proved to be the difference in the score. I loved the way a few of our guys really stepped up for us offensively late in game to give us a lead. We have a doubleheader tomorrow against Nicholls State and LSU, so we'll come out with the same energy and hopefully come out on top"
Playing in front of a crowd of 10,085, the Bears got out to an early lead, scoring in the top of the first inning. Junior Matt DeRenzi (Mendham, NJ) got on base after he singled to right field, and then proceed to steal second before sophomore Will Marcal (Lexington, MA) was hit by a pitch. With two men on base and two outs, senior Cody Slaughter (New Port Richey, FL) singled to third, allowing DeRenzi to score on an LSU fielding error.
The Tigers responded immediately, taking a two run lead on a double to right field in the bottom of the first, but a double play by DeRenzi and junior Wes Van Boom (Trabuco Canyon, CA) halted their momentum. The score would then remain stagnant for the next six innings, with neither team able to generate much offense.
Brown struck first, earning two runs in the top of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead over LSU. Junior J.J. Franco (New York, NY), batting second in the inning for the Bears, doubled to left center before classmate Daniel Massey (Greensboro, NC) drove a single to right field, bringing Franco home and tying the score, 2-2. DeRenzi headed to first after being hit by a pitch and, with two runners on base, Marcal singled to right field, bringing in Massey and giving the Bears a 3-2 lead over the Tigers.
Although they put up a tough fight, the Bears were unable to hold on, as the home team tied the score with a single to right field in the bottom of the inning before earning the winning run on a fly out to left field in the bottom of the ninth.
Franco was 2-for-3 in the game, scoring once, while Massey was 1-for-1 in the batter's box, earning a run and driving in one RBI. DeRenzi and Marcal both went 1-for-3, while Slaughter was 1-for-4 with 10 putouts. Freshman Tim McKeithan (Arden, NC) was strong defensively, contributing six assists at shortstop.
Sophomore Taylor Wright (Berwyn, PA) received the loss, but three other Bears put in their time on the mound, beginning with starter Anthony Galan (Watchung, NJ). The junior pitched for six innings, giving up seven hits and only two earned runs, while also striking out two batters. Sophomore Chris Smith (Colleyville, TX) also had two strikeouts in his two innings in relief.
Brown will return to action tomorrow with two games in Baton Rouge, as the team takes on Nicholls State at 2:00pm CT before squaring off against LSU for a second time at 6:30pm CT.