Bears Fall to UConn, 6-5
April 18, 2007
Storrs, CT - After a hectic day for both teams, the Brown baseball team (12-15, 7-3 Ivy) dropped a 6-5 decision at the University of Connecticut (17-18, 4-8 Big East) on Wednesday. After the teams went back and forth with respective five-run, three-inning bursts, UConn scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
The rescheduling of the game from Providence to Storrs in the late morning was a jolt to both teams. On Tuesday, a single game in Providence was changed to a doubleheader, so the teams could get more players some midweek innings, but in the late morning on Wednesday, the site of the contest was changed because heavy rains over the past three days made Aldrich Field unplayable, and it again became a single, nine-inning game. The Huskies were already en route to Providence and had to turn around when the game was moved, while the Bears had to pack their gear up at the last minute, leading to the odd sight of both teams wearing their away jerseys at the same time.
Since this was the Bears' first midweek game in just under three weeks, Head Coach Marek Drabinski used the opportunity to get six pitchers work. Freshmen Rob Wilcox (Columbia, SC) and Matt Boylan (Danvers, MA) pitched the first two innings, giving up one run each. Senior Ethan Silverstein (Woodbridge, CT) threw the next two, giving up three runs in the third before settling down for a 1-2-3 fourth. Junior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT) had the best performance on the mound for the Bears, allowing one hit and no runs while striking out two while working the fifth and sixth innings. Senior Paul Costa (East Providence, RI) worked the seventh and one out of the eighth, taking the loss by giving up a run, before junior Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) closed the eighth by getting the final two outs.
At the plate, shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA), designated hitter Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL), and starting right fielder Chris Tanabe (Jupiter, FL) all had two hits, Tanabe in just two at-bats. Nuzzo scored two runs, while left fielder Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) drove in a pair while going 1-for-3.
After the Huskies scored five runs in the first three innings, the Bears stormed back in the next three to tie the score at 5-5. In the top of the fourth, the Bears put three runs across. Junior Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL) reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, making his second heads-up play of the game by sliding to avoid the first baseman's tag. Nuzzo and Tews followed him with a pair of hard-hit doubles to right-center and left-center, respectively, bringing Dietz across for the first run. Sophomore Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) and Murphy then drove in Nuzzo and Tews with a pair of RBI groundouts.
In the fifth, sophomore Dan Shapiro (Basking Ridge, NJ) pinch hit with one out and walked, then stole second base. After the second out, Shapiro moved to third, then scored on a pair of wild pitches. In the sixth, Nuzzo led off with a hard-hit ground ball to short that took a bad hop for a single. He moved all the way to third after a throwing error by the pitcher on an attempted pickoff, scoring on a single back at the pitcher by Murphy.
In the eighth, the Huskies scored what would prove to be the winning run. Designated hitter Larry Day singled deep to short off of Costa, then gave way to pinch runner Ted O'Reilly, who stole second. After Costa got a strikeout, right fielder Matt Burnett doubled down the left field line, just beyond a diving Murphy, to drive in O'Reilly. After Hallberg ended the inning, the Bears went down in order in the ninth to end the game.
The first three innings were all UConn. Left fielder Peter Fatse led off the game with a double, and after a strikeout and a pop out, shortstop Dennis Donovan singled him in. However, a heads-up play by Dietz ended the inning, as he cut off the throw from center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI), then chased down Donovan, who had taken a wide turn around first, to tag him for the third out.
UConn got another in the second. Day led the inning off and advanced to second on a groundout by the following batter. A single moved him to third, and he scored on a sacrifice fly by catcher Brad Olt. In the next inning, the Huskies put three runs on the board, stringing together three hits in the inning along with a walk and a wild pitch.
This weekend will likely make or break Brown's chances to win the Red Rolfe Division and advance to the Ivy League Playoffs, as the Harvard Crimson come to Providence for a four-game set. The Bears and the Crimson are tied at 7-3, and a 3-1 weekend by either team will make it the favorite to win the division. Saturday's game will also be preceded by a special dedication ceremony, as Brown's home field officially becomes Murray Stadium. Benefactor Terry Murray, whose donation helped renovate the field and surrounding area, will throw out the first pitch after the ceremony.