March 31, 2007

Bears Sweep Defending Ivy Champ Princeton, 4-2 and 14-8

March 31, 2007

Box Score

Princeton, NJ - After winning game one of a doubleheader with Princeton, 4-2, the Brown baseball team (7-11, 2-0) faced an 8-3 deficit entering the ninth inning of the second game. The Bears not only came back to take the lead, but erupted for 11 runs in the frame, taking a 14-8 victory and a sweep of the defending Ivy League Champion to open Ivy play. Sophomore shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) was on fire at the plate, going a combined 8-for-9 with four runs scored and an RBI over the two games.

In the ninth inning of game two alone, the Bears scored as many runs as they had in any game all season. The first four batters of the inning, Adjatay Nyadjroh (Somerville, MA), Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI), Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ), and Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL), all walked. A wild pitch brought home the second run before junior Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL) cleared the bases with a double. Freshman Chris Tanabe (Jupiter, FL) pinch ran for Dietz after a pitching change, scoring the tying run on an error by the left fielder on a single by Nuzzo. Nuzzo stole second, then advanced to third when Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL) reached on an error by the shortstop. J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI) was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, and Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) finally made the first out of the inning on a sacrifice fly that gave Brown the lead. Nyadjroh singled in his second at-bat of the inning to bring home the seventh Brown run. Daniels hit into a fielder's choice, but the Tigers were unable to retire either runner as another run scored. Murphy reached on Princeton's third error of the inning, a throwing error by the first baseman, bringing yet another run home. Thomas then brought both baserunners home with a double, the final hit of the inning, as Brad Rifkin (Columbia, MD) struck out and Nuzzo popped up, mercifully ending the frame after 16 batters.

As a result of the memorable rally, the Bears had great hitting stats up and down the lineup in game two. Nuzzo was 5-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI. He hit his second home run of the year in the second inning, a solo shot, and also had a double and a stolen base. Daniels was 0-for-4, but scored three runs and had an RBI on two walks, stealing his 14th base of the year. Murphy had two runs and an RBI, Thomas was 2-for-4 with two walks, three RBI and a run scored, and Dietz was 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. Tews extended hit hitting streak to 10 games, going 1-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Nyadjroh was 1-for-2 with two runs scored and an RBI despite entering the game as a pinch hitter in the final inning.

Senior James Cramphin (Simsbury, CT) got the start, giving up six runs, four earned, in 6.0 innings on nine hits and six walks, striking out six. Senior Paul Costa (East Providence, RI) got the win, throwing two-thirds of an inning, getting charged with one run on a two-run home run after he relieved Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT), who had thrown a scoreless seventh and allowed a walk in the eighth. Junior Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) threw a scoreless eighth to seal the win, striking out one batter and allowing one walk.

Game one was a stark contrast to the game that followed, a pitchers' dual in which both starting pitchers went all seven innings. Dietz toed the rubber for the Bears, allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out six. Those five hits were strung together in two short Princeton rallies in the second and fourth, leading to the two runs, but otherwise Dietz was dominant.

At the plate, the Bears also got their runs in the second and fourth. Nuzzo singled with one out, advancing to second when the right fielder misplayed the ball. Tews walked, and after a pop-out, Papenhause brought Nuzzo in with a single to right. Papenhause and Tews then successfully executed a double steal for the second run of the inning.

Nuzzo also started the rally in the fourth, leading off with a single. A double by Tews moved the sophomore to third, and sophomore Dan Shapiro (Basking Ridge, NJ) brought the pair in with a single.

Nuzzo was a perfect 3-for-3, while Thomas and Tews each had a hit and a walk. With his 8-for-9 day, Nuzzo raised his batting average from .274 to .352, moving into the team lead.

On Sunday, the Bears will travel up to Ithaca, New York, to take on Cornell. That doubleheader will end a Spring Break schedule that had the Bears playing 11 games in nine days.