April 28, 2007
New Haven, CT - For the first time since 2002, the Brown baseball team (19-17, 13-5 Ivy) clinched at least a share of first place in the Red Rolfe Division, sweeping a doubleheader with Yale (15-26, 7-11), 8-5 and 15-2. Thanks to Harvard's split at Dartmouth, the Bears can clinch sole possession of first with one win against Yale tomorrow or one Harvard loss at home to Dartmouth.
In game one, the Bears and Bulldogs traded runs in the first two innings, with Yale taking a 4-1 lead. A single by junior first baseman Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL) drove in junior left fielder Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) with the first run of the game in the top of the first. After a sacrifice fly by Yale sophomore slugger Ryan Lavarnway tied the game in the bottom of the first, junior designated hitter J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI) singled in sophomore right fielder Dan Shapiro (Basking Ridge, NJ) to give the Bears a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, freshman righty Will Weidig (Katy, TX) got into some trouble, as Yale was able to score three runs on three hits and three walks. However, a great defensive play by Dietz to retire the runner at home on a squeeze bunt attempt prevented another run, and helped the Bears get out of the inning sooner.
In the fourth, the Bears took the lead for good, putting five runs across. The Bears loaded the bases for Dietz, the cleanup hitter, with one out, and an error by the second baseman allowed one run to come in. The next batter, sophomore shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) cleared the bases with a double to right field, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Shapiro drove him in two batters later on a single to give the Bears a 7-4 lead.
Lavarnway went deep in the fifth to get one run back for the Bulldogs, but that would be the last of their runs. Eno drove Shapiro in on another single in the seventh for an insurance run, and junior right-hander Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) came on in the seventh for his third save of the year.
Weidig allowed five runs on six hits and three walks over six innings, striking out two while moving to 4-2 on the year. Hallberg allowed a walk and a hit in the seventh, but did not allow a run in getting the save.
At the plate, Shapiro led the way, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances. He was 2-for-2 with two walks, driving in one run and scoring twice. Murphy, Dietz, Eno, and sophomore third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) were all 2-for-4.
In game two, the Bears broke the bats out in a big way, scoring in every inning but the ninth, scoring 15 runs on 24 hits and five Yale errors. Every Brown starter scored at least once, while senior starter Ethan Silverstein (Woodbridge, CT) and relief pitchers senior Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY), junior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT), and junior Alex Silverman (Wilmington, NC) combined to hold Yale to two runs on five hits. Silverstein went six innings, scattering four hits and three walks while striking out three to pick up his first win of the year. Vita, Moskal, and Silverman pitched an inning apiece, with Moskal turning in his second dominant relief inning of the week, striking out all three batters he faced on just 10 pitches. Vita and Silverman were also solid, allowing just one baserunner each.
More impressive were the Bears' numbers at the plate. Papenhause was 4-for-5 with a double and a walk, driving in three runs and scoring one. Senior catcher Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL) was 4-for-6 with three runs scored and a run batted in, and crushed his team-leading 10th home run of the season. Eno and Murphy also hit home runs, their second and first of the season, respectively. With a 1-for-6 performance, Nuzzo extended his team season-high hitting streak to 13 games, a stretch during which he is hitting .426 with 15 RBIs and 11 runs scored.
On Sunday, the Bears will host Yale for their final two Ivy League games of the regular season. The team's six members of the class of 2007 will be honored prior to the doubleheader, which will start at 1 p.m. In other schedule news, the Bears' rescheduled doubleheader with Maine, which was set for Tuesday, has been cancelled. The team's doubleheader with Central Connecticut State, which had been moved to Wednesday, has been moved back to Tuesday, and will be played at 2 p.m.