April 22, 2007

Brown and Harvard Split Again, Remain in Tie for First

April 22, 2007

Box Score

Providence, RI - After winning the first game of its Sunday doubleheader, 5-2, the Brown baseball team (14-17, 9-5 Ivy) had sole possession of first place in the Red Rolfe Division for about four hours, as the Bears made three errors and allowed five unearned runs in game two, losing 9-4. Sophomore third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) hit his third home run of the weekend in game one, accounting for the three winning runs, while freshman Will Weidig (Katy, TX) shut the Harvard bats down for six innings to pick up his third win. In the game two loss, the Crimson scored six runs in the second, only two of which were earned, as the Bears made two costly errors to give their opponents the lead for good.

The Brown defense made six errors on the day, accounting for more than half of Harvard's runs. The Crimson got on the board in the second inning of game one, as an error by shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) allowed Matt Rogers to advance to third, then score on Chris Rouches' sacrifice fly. Harvard's lead doubled to 2-0 in the third, as centerfielder Matt Vance led off the inning with a home run.

Brown was able to tie it back up in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman right fielder Chris Tanabe (Jupiter, FL) led off with a single, advancing to third on junior Jeff Dietz's (Altamonte Springs, FL) double two batters later. Nuzzo brought home Tanabe with a ground out to second, and Dietz scored on a wild pitch in the next at-bat.

In the fifth, Nuzzo doubled with two outs and senior Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL) walked, allowing Papenhause to come up and blast his second back-breaking home run in as many days to put Brown up 5-2. Papenhause finished the game 2-for-2 with a walk.

Weidig, meanwhile, was outstanding allowing two runs, one earned, on seven hits and one walk in six-plus innings, while racking up five strikeouts. He gave way to junior closer Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ), who picked up his second save of the year by coming in with runners on first and second and the tying run at the plate and getting a fielder's choice, a foul pop-up, and a strikeout to end the game.

In game two, the Bears made three errors, the same number they had in game one, but they were not able to compensate for them, and other mental errors cost them the game. Senior catcher Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL), Dietz, and Nuzzo had back-to-back-to-back two-out doubles in the first inning to give Brown a 2-0 lead, but everything came apart in the top of the second.

After a leadoff double by designated hitter Andrew Prince, Dietz bobbled a ground ball, allowing Rogers to reach. Right fielder Tom Stack-Babich roped a double down the right field line to bring Prince in, and then Rogers scored on a wild pitch. Stack-Babich then came in on an RBI groundout to short by first baseman Matt Kramer to give Harvard the lead. Catcher Andrew Casey got the rally going again with a single to right, then advanced on a sacrifice bunt. Vance, who wound up going 11-for-16 on the weekend with three extra-base hits and seven RBI, was intentionally walked, then shortstop Jeff Stoeckel singled to center to bring in the slow-footed Casey. Stoeckel stole second before third baseman Steffan Wilson hit a sharp ground ball up the middle. Nuzzo was able to track down the hit, which was ruled a single, but threw the ball wide and high while spinning, allowing two runs to come in.

In the fourth, second baseman Griff Jenkins, the ninth hitter in the Harvard lineup, led off with a home run to chase Brown starter Alex Silverman (Wilmington, NC) from the game. Vance then singled off of freshman Rob Wilcox (Columbia, SC), and advanced to second while center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) bobbled the ball. That extra base proved costly, as Vance scored on a double down the left field line by Wilson to put Harvard up 8-2.

The Crimson got their final run in the fifth, as Vance drove in Casey with a single through the left side of the infield, but senior Ethan Silverstein (Woodbridge, CT) came in and shut down the Crimson rally. In three innings pitched, Silverstein allowed just two hits and no walks, striking out two. He gave way to senior Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY), who threw one and a third innings of hitless relief in his first appearance in nearly a month.

The Bears got runs back in the fifth and eighth, as singles by Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) and Nuzzo brought runs in, but the Bears were not able to sustain either rally.

The heart of the Brown order - Thomas, Dietz, and Nuzzo - combined to go 8-for-12 on the day with three runs and three RBIs, but the rest of the Brown lineup accounted for just two hits.

The Bears will play their final six Ivy League games this week, traveling to Dartmouth on Wednesday for a makeup doubleheader, then finishing with a home-and-home with Yale on Saturday and Sunday. In between, the Bears will play a single game at Holy Cross on Thursday.