Feb. 28, 2009
Conway, S.C. - The Bears split a doubleheader against Florida International to kick off the 2009 season on Friday afternoon. After dropping the opener by a 3-2 margin, Brown rallied back to take a 7-4 decision in the rematch, moving their record to 1-1 after the first day of the new season.
In the first game of the day, junior Will Weidig (Katy, TX) squared off in a pitcher's dual with Florida International's Scott Rembisz. Weidig pitched all eight innings for the Bears, allowing just three runs, all earned, and striking out five. Weidig also displayed outstanding control in his first start of the season, as he did not walk a single batter.
The Panthers struck first, getting on the board in the third inning to take a 1-0 lead. That margin held up until the top of the seventh, when senior captain Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) knocked in a two-run home run, providing all the offense that the Bears would get in the contest. Nuzzo's blast briefly gave Bruno a 2-1 lead, but Florida International wasted little time in answering back, scoring two of their own in the bottom of the inning. Following that outburst, both pitchers put zeros on the board for the remainder of the game, and the Panthers held on to make the 3-2 margin final.
The second game quickly took on a different feel, as Florida International scored three runs in the top of the second for an early lead. The Panthers then added another run in the top of the sixth for a 4-0 lead, appearing to put away the game. However, Brown came roaring back in the bottom of the inning, putting up six runs of their own. Florida International struggled on the mound, as the Bears scored a pair of runs on a balk and a wild pitch in quick succession. Bruno then added another run in the bottom of the seventh for the 7-4 win.
Sophomore Mark Gormley (Milton, MA) got the start for the Bears, and after giving up the early runs, he settled down and gave up just one unearned run the rest of the way. Gormley pitched a total of six innings, striking out two. Sophomore Matthew Kimball (Nashville, TN) then took the ball for the rest of the game, throwing the final three innings. Kimball was outstanding in his first action of the season, allowing zero baserunners while striking out one.
Nuzzo was once again instrumental in the offense, as he went 1-3 with a triple and two RBI's, capping off a terrific day at the plate. Junior outfielder Nick Punal (Palm Beach, FL) also added an RBI and a run scored.
The Bears will be back in action tomorrow, when they take on West Virginia at 3 p.m.