March 8, 2009
Auburn, AL - Brown lost a heartbreaker to the Auburn Tigers on Sunday afternoon, falling 10-9 in extra innings despite three RBI's from rookie Graham Tyler (Cranston, R.I.). The win gives Auburn (9-4) the series sweep, and drops Brown's season record to 1-5 in the early going.
After a scoreless first inning for both squads, Auburn struck first, scoring an unearned run on a throwing error by the Bears. Junior starter Matt Boylan (Danvers, MA) kept his composure, however, and got out of the inning without further incident. Boylan pitched a strong game, giving up just four runs, including three earned, through six innings. He struggled in the seventh though, allowing two runs before leaving the game.
After falling behind 1-0 through two innings, Brown answered in the top of the third, as sophomore Ryan Zrenda (Old Lyme, CT) hit a triple to bring in the first run of the game for the Bears, tying the contest at 1-1. With the score still knotted at one apiece in the fourth, Tyler provided some fireworks for the Bears, knocking in a two-run home run to give Bruno the 3-1 lead, the first time Brown had led in the series.
Not content to go quietly, however, the Tigers fought back for a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, then followed with a two-run homer in the fifth to regain the lead at 4-3. Facing a one-run deficit though, the Bears exploded for perhaps their best inning of the young season in the sixth. Senior Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) led off the frame with a double to right field. After a walk and a wild pitch, freshman Mike DiBiase (Weston, MA) then picked up his first career RBI to kick off the scoring, driving in Nuzzo. Tyler then put down a sacrifice bunt to bring home another run while moving the runner to second. Following a walk, center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) then came up with a clutch hit, knocking a triple to bring in two runs before scoring on a wild pitch shortly after. Though the Tigers escaped the inning without Brown doing any further damage, the Bears still held a commanding 8-4 lead.
With Boylan tiring though, Auburn answered back again in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs to pull with one. The Tiger's bullpen did an impressive job late in the game, shutting out the Bears over the last few innings, and allowing Auburn to tie the game at eight apiece with one frame to play. After Bruno was unable to score in the top of the ninth, the Tigers had a chance to steal the game in the bottom of the inning. However, junior right-hander Rob Wilcox (Columbia, S.C.) entered the game and pitched a perfect inning to send the game into an extra frame.
Following a scoreless tenth from both squads, Brown struck again in the top of the 11th inning. Daniels led off the frame with a single to center, then stole second after Zrenda flew out. Nuzzo continued his solid hitting with a sacrifice fly to bring Daniels in from third and take the lead.
After Wilcox retired the first batter in the bottom of the inning the Bears appeared to be in line for the win, but a single and a triple from the Tigers tied the game up with just one out. Wilcox then issued an intentional walk and hit a batter to load the bases, followed by Auburn scoring the go-ahead run to take an exciting 10-9 decision.
The Bears will be back in action on Saturday, March 21, when they travel to take on San Diego at 4:00 p.m.