Bears Split With Princeton Behind Vita's Complete Game

April 6, 2008

Box Score

Providence, RI - Senior righthander Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY) was dominant in his first career complete game, as the Brown baseball team (11-13, 4-4 Ivy League) split a doubleheader with Princeton (12-14, 4-4 Ivy League) on Sunday at Murray Stadium. Vita went seven innings, allowing just one run on three hits and one walk, needing just 85 pitches to out-duel the Tigers' David Hale in the opener, which the Bears won, 2-1, while a six-run seventh gave Princeton the lead for good in a wild 14-11 nightcap.

Vita's seven-inning outing in the first game was by far the longest of his three-year career. In fact, the seven innings were more than he threw in either of the last two seasons total (3.2 in 2006, 5.2 in 2007). He evened his record at 2-2, and now sports a team-low 2.59 ERA. His counterpart, Hale, was also on top of his game, allowing just two unearned runs on 87 pitches over six innings, giving up three hits and three walks while striking out five.

In the bottom of the first, junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) hit a two-out double following a strike `em out, throw `em out double play. Senior designated hitter Conor Reardon (Branford, CT) then grounded to short, but Princeton's Dan DeGeorge, threw well short of first base and the ball rolled away, allowing Nuzzo to score.

Princeton tied the game up in the fourth. Vita walked Adrian Turnham with one out, then allowed a double by Jack Murphy. Spencer Lucian then drove in the Tigers lone run on a groundout to short.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Bears again got some help from the Tigers. Junior left fielder Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) led off with a bunt, which Hale fielded and threw over the second baseman's head, allowing Murphy to advance to second. After a failed sacrifice attempt to move Murphy to third, Reardon brought Murphy home with a single to left center for the game-winning run.

In game two, the teams combined to score runs in 11 of the 18 half innings. Reardon drove in junior center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) in the bottom of the first, Brown's 35th first-inning run in 24 games this year. However, Princeton got to freshman starter Josh Feit (Woodcliff Hills, NJ) for two runs in the top of the second and two more in the top of the third to take a 4-1 lead. Feit lasted just 2.1 innings before giving way to freshman Matthew Kimball (Nashville, TN).

The Bears made it a one-run game in the bottom of the third, as freshman catcher Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) drove in two on an single to center. The Tigers struck back, getting to Kimball for one run in the top of the fourth to make it 5-3, but Brown was able to get back on top in the bottom of the frame. Senior J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI) singled to lead off, followed by Daniels drawing a walk and Murphy reaching on a fielding error to load the bases. Nuzzo then chased starter Steven Miller by drilling a home run to right center. That brought in left-hander David Palms, who gave up one more run in the inning on a single by sophomore right fielder Nick Puñal (Palm Beach, FL) for an 8-5 Brown lead.

That lead held through the fifth and sixth innings, the only two scoreless innings in the contest. However, Princeton's big seventh inning, gave the Tigers the lead for good. Kimball allowed two runs on three hits and a walk before exiting for freshman left-hander Mark Gormley (Milton, MA), who gave up a double to allow both inherited runners to score and give Princeton the lead, and a home run to Jon Broscious that extended it. Senior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT) then entered to end the inning.

The Bears continued to fight back, but Princeton kept scoring as well. Daniels drove in Puñal for a run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Tigers got one of their own as sophomore Matt Boylan (Danvers, MA) allowed a runner inherited from Moskal to score. The Bears got two in the bottom of the eight on singles by Puñal and freshman second baseman Ryan Zrenda (Old Lyme, CT), but the Tigers matched that against sophomore Rob Wilcox (Columbia, SC) in the top of the ninth.

Palms pitched the final six innings in relief to earn the win, allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits and three walks, getting seven strikeouts. Gormley got the loss, dropping to 2-2. At the plate, junior third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) reached in all five of his plate appearances, going 1-for-1 with four walks and three runs scored. Puñal was 4-for-5 with two RBIs and one run scored, while Zrenda was 3-for-4 with a sacrifice bunt and an RBI. Nuzzo was 2-for-6 with four RBIs and a run scored.

Now at 4-4 in the Ivy League the Bears will enter the second half of the Ivy League season in third in the Red Rolfe Division. However, their deficit will depend a lot on the next two days of games. Dartmouth, in first place at 6-0, will play Columbia on Monday. Harvard, 0-4, will play at home for two with Penn on Monday, then travel to Cornell for two more on Tuesday. Yale, in second at 5-2, will not complete its called game with Penn unless a tie needs to be broken.

Brown's next game will be at Quinnipiac (5-15) on Tuesday at 3 p.m. That will serve as a tune-up for next weekend, when the Bears will host first-place Dartmouth (12-8) for the first of three four-game series against Lou Gehrig Division opponents.