March 29, 2008
New York, NY - Entering the 2008 season as the defending Ivy League Champions for the first time, the Brown baseball team (6-10, 0-2 Ivy League) got off to a rough start in its title defense, getting swept by Columbia (6-14, 2-0 Ivy League), 6-3 and 11-2, on Saturday at Andy Coakley Field. Unable to get much going at the plate, the Bears were shut down by Columbia starters Joe Scarlata and Geoff Whitaker in games one and two, respectively.
Both Brown sophomore Will Weidig (Katy, TX) and Scarlata went the distance in the first game. Scarlata, a junior, allowed three runs, two earned, on just four hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out seven, to pick up his first win of the year. Weidig took the loss to go to 1-3, allowing six runs on nine hits and one walk, striking out three in six innings.
The Lions went up 3-0 in the second inning. Catcher Dean Forthun drove in the first run on a triple to left center, then was followed by the ninth batter, shortstop Alex Ferrera, who homered to left center. Brown got one back in the top of the fifth, as freshman catcher Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) came home on an error by center fielder Nick Cox on J.J. Eno's (Kahului, HI) fly ball. However, the Lions got three more in the bottom of the inning on a walk and three hits.
In the seventh, the Bears mounted a rally. Eno doubled to move sophomore right fielder Nick Puñal (Palm Beach, FL) over to third, and both scored on a single by senior left fielder Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ). However, that would be all the scoring as Scarlata got a strikeout of junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) to end the game.
In the second game, the Bears got to Whitaker quickly. Senior designated hitter Conor Reardon (Branford, CT) led off the second with the first of his four hits in the game, a double, and was driven in on a Colantonio single. Puñal drove in junior third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) with the team's second run in the top of the fourth, but that would end the scoring for the Bears, who would leave seven runners in scoring position, losing by nine even though they matched the Lions' 11 hits.
Freshman righty Whitaker went 7.1 innings, giving up all 11 Brown hits but allowing just two runs, striking out six and walking none. He was relieved by sophomore Clay Bartlett, who threw 1.2 hitless innings.
Freshman Josh Feit (Woodcliff Hills, NJ) cruised through the first three innings, allowing just one runner on a walk and striking out two batters. However, with one out in the fourth, Lion second baseman Henry Perkins got his team on the board with a solo home run to center. A hit batter and two singles brought in another run before Feit got out of the inning, but the Lions got back at it the next inning.
Freshman leadoff man Nick Cox got on with one out thanks to a Nuzzo error. After a stolen base and a groundout that otherwise would have ended the inning moved him to third, Feit walked Perkins and hit first baseman Ron Williams for the second straight inning, ending his day. Freshman Matthew Kimball (Nashville, TN) entered the game with the bases loaded and gave up a grand slam to third baseman Mike Roberts, giving Columbia the lead.
Kimball pitched into the eighth, allowing a double to the leadoff batter before being relieved by senior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT), who gave up a double, RBI single, and a walk before exiting for freshman Conor Burke (Andover, MA). Columbia left fielder Jason Banos brought in three runs with a double, with Perkins bringing him in with a groundout to end the scoring.
Feit went to 0-2 with the loss, allowing five runs, two earned, in 4.2 innings.
The Bears will try to even their Ivy record at Penn on Sunday. The Quakers had lost their first game against Yale, 5-1, but used a six-run ninth-inning rally to force extra innings with the Bulldogs in game two, which was tied 7-7 as of press time. They are expected to throw sophomore RHP Todd Roth and sophomore LHP Tom Grandieri against the Bears, who will counter with senior RHPs Alex Silverman (Wilmington, NC) and Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY).