The baseball team (12–6; 2–1 NESCAC) climbed to second place in the NESCAC East Division last weekend by going 2–1 in its three-game series against Trinity College (14–7; 3–3 NESCAC). The Polar Bears won their first two games both by a score of 2–1 and fell to Trinity 2–5 in its last matchup. Bowdoin added to its momentum by defeating Saint Joseph’s College (11–15) 6–5 on Wednesday afternoon. Bowdoin will return to conference play this weekend against top-seeded Tufts University (14–6; 3–0 NESCAC) in Medford, Mass.
The pitching staff provided the foundation for the Polar Bears’ wins. Captain Jason Bogdanos ’24 threw a complete nine innings, only allowed two hits and yielded no earned runs in the first game versus Trinity. He was voted NESCAC Pitcher of the Week for this performance, which his teammates described as unbelievable. In the second game, Jack Mullen ’23 also allowed zero earned runs while striking out five batters, turning in one of his best performances of the season.
“Both those guys were fantastic in their starts,” Head Coach Mike Connolly said. “Both have phenomenal work ethic and are great competitors…. They set the tone for the weekend with the way they pitched. Our guys played really good defense behind them, but when you look at a couple of 2–1 wins, it starts with great pitching and good defense to support that.”
The first two games were hard won, with the Polar Bears defending their lead for nine innings in the first game and coming out ahead only at the end of the second game.
“Nobody really scored until the last inning [in game two],” captain and infielder CJ Brito-Trinidad ’23 said. “We ended up with a crazy comeback where we scored two runs, walked it off, left them on the field—so at that point we had taken the series. Everybody’s energy was really high.”
Bowdoin faltered in the third game of the series. The Polar Bears allowed five runs early on and were not able to bring any runners home until the ninth inning, but by then, it was too little, too late.
“We came a little bit loose in terms of too many free bases, too many runs, too many errors,” Connolly said. “It’s a process where you go through the season and it gets to the point where it’s not even physical. It’s mental. You have to mentally grind out every single pitch.”
The team wants to focus on controlling what it can as they look to the rest of its season.
“It’s about being able to slow the game down to a point where you control everything that you can control in the game and you don’t let any moment get too big for you,” Bogdanos said. “I think we did a really good job of that in the first two games [against Trinity]. Everyone battled really hard and competed a lot. It was a lot of fun to play and really fun to watch.”
The Polar Bears saw this approach pay off in their victory against Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday. Despite an early deficit, Bowdoin rallied in the seventh inning to earn the win.
“The approach from the beginning to the end was really good,” Connolly said. “We had 12 hits, but we hit 12 outs that were right on the nose…. We kept pressure on them the entire time…. We had really good at-bats.”
Bowdoin is preparing for its series against Tufts today and tomorrow. The three games in Medford will be Bowdoin’s first conference games on the road this season.
“I personally don’t mind playing on the road,” Brito-Trinidad said. “I think there’s something fun about being able to hit first, you get to score first, if you do get that opportunity in the first inning. Honestly, it’s just a mindset.”
The Polar Bears are also trying to focus on winning one game at a time.
“I think it’s important to just not be influenced by the other team. To not see them as three games over the course of the weekend, but to see them as one game that you play at a separate time,” captain and catcher Stephen Simoes ’23 said.
Connolly said that the team is heading into the weekend confident in its own abilities.
“We just got to play our game. I think our game can beat any team in the country,” Connolly said. “Our game is to attack from a pitching standpoint, make sure we’re on our toes, ready to make some plays. If they do get a couple hits, make sure we’re minimizing the damage that happens and making sure we have really competitive at-bats from start to finish.”