Eighth-Inning Rally Gets Brown A Split with Harvard

April 21, 2007

Box Score

Providence, RI - When the Brown baseball team (13-16) took its turn at the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning of its second game against Harvard (13-14) on Saturday, the Bears were down 8-4 and in danger of being swept in its first doubleheader after renaming its field Murray Stadium. However, 11 batters and eight runs later, Brown had pulled ahead, 12-8, thanks to a game-tying grand slam by sophomore third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA), a go-ahead RBI single by junior left fielder Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ), and a three-run home run by junior first baseman Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL). The rally helped the Bears pull back even with the Crimson at 8-4 in the Ivy League, after Harvard took a 7-3 win in the first game of the double-dip.

Things looked bleak for Brown entering the eighth, as Harvard brought closer Jake Bruton in to finish the final two innings. However, Bruton wound up not recording an out. Sophomore shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) led the inning off with a triple, sending a missile just over the center fielder's head. Senior second baseman Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL) and sophomore right fielder Dan Shapiro (Basking Ridge, NJ) then drew walks to load the bases, when Papenhause came up and crushed his third dinger of the year and second of the day over the right field fence to tie the game. Sophomore Brad Rifkin (Columbia, MD), in just his second career start and his first at designated hitter, chased Bruton from the game with a single, then gave way to pinch runner J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI), who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI). Murphy singled up the middle to drive in Eno with the go-ahead run, and after catcher Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL) was hit by a pitch, Dietz drilled his sixth home run of the season to give the Bears a four-run cushion.

Brown had held a 4-1 lead earlier in the game, before Harvard picked up four runs in the seventh and three in the eighth to take the 8-4 lead. The Crimson got on the board in the top of the first, but Rifkin gave the Bears a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third with his first career home run, a monster two-run blast over the right-field scoreboard. After a pair of groundouts, Thomas wrapped a line drive around the right-field foul pole for his team-leading seventh home run of the year. Tews led off the fourth with a single, working his way around on a stolen base and a pair of groundouts for Brown's fourth run.

Dietz, who was tied for the team lead with 10 multi-hit games, had his first three-hit performance of the year, going 3-for-4 with the home run and a double. Papenhause and Rifkin, batting 8-9 in the Brown lineup, combined to go 4-for-7 with six RBIs and three runs scored.

Brown starter James Cramphin (Simsbury, CT) went seven and a third, giving up seven runs, four earned, on seven hits and three walks, but striking out 12 batters to bring his team-leading total to 50. Junior Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) got the win, throwing the final one and two-thirds and allowing one hit and two walks, striking out four.

Dietz went all seven innings in game one, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits and two walks, striking out 10 batters to give himself 46 on the year. Papenhause was 1-for-3 with a solo home run, while Murphy and Thomas each had two hits. Harvard took a 4-0 lead, scoring once in the first and three times in the third, before the Bears got a pair on Papenhause's home run and a double by Thomas, on which Murphy scored thanks to a throwing error by the right fielder. The Bears got another in the fifth, as junior second baseman Brian Kelaher (Farmington, CT) scored on a passed ball, but Harvard put three more runs up in the sixth to pull away for good.

Before the games, a special ceremony was held to dedicate the Bears' home as Murray Stadium. A monument behind the press box and a sign on top of the right-field scoreboard were debuted as Terry Murray and his family were honored for their generosity to the University.

On Sunday, Harvard will come back to Providence, as the Ivy League's Red Rolfe Division leaders play another critical doubleheader. Freshman Will Weidig (Katy, TX) and junior Alex Silverman (Wilmington, NC) will start the two games for the Bears, while Harvard is expected to counter with freshman Eric Eadington and junior Brad Unger.