May 24, 2007

Bears Split With Patriot League Champ Lafayette in Final NCAA Tune-up

May 24, 2007

Box Score

Providence, RI - In both teams' final tune-ups before the NCAA Regionals next week, the Ivy League Champion Brown baseball team (27-19) split a doubleheader with Patriot League Champion Lafayette (32-18) on Thursday, winning the opener 6-1 and dropping the nightcap, 11-4. Junior sidearmer Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL) shined yet again in game one, allowing just one unearned run over eight innings to pick up his ninth win of the season, breaking a Brown single-season record.

Also breaking single-season records were senior catcher Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL), who scored two runs in game one to set a new mark with 51, and sophomore leadoff man Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI), who finished the day with 186 at-bats on the season to set a new record. The win marked a milestone for the Brown program, as the Bears extended their single-season win record to 27.

After giving up an unearned run in the first inning, Dietz shut down the Leopards, giving up just four hits and two walks while striking out six. He gave way to junior closer Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ), who worked a scoreless ninth to preserve the win. Dietz also got the job done at the plate, driving in the first Brown run in the sixth before senior Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL) laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to bring home Thomas for a 2-1 Brown lead. In the next inning, Daniels and Thomas had RBI singles before Dietz blasted his eighth home run of the season over the fence in left center, more than 370 feet away. That homer would prove to be the only extra-base hit of the game for either team.

Daniels, Thomas and Dietz all finished with two hits, with the first two scoring two runs each and driving in one, while Dietz helped his own cause with three RBIs and one run scored.

The Leopards bounced back and showed their championship mettle in the second game, scoring twice in the top of the first and getting five more in the top of the fifth for a 7-0 lead. The Bears finally got a couple of runs in the sixth, when junior Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) doubled home sophomore Dan Shapiro (Basking Ridge, NJ), followed later by Thomas and Murphy successfully pulling off a double steal starting on first and third. In the eighth, Murphy and Dietz came home for Brown's final two runs on a double by sophomore Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA).

Murphy and Nuzzo were both 3-for-4 in the second game. Murphy scored twice and drove in one run, stealing three bases, a team-high for the season. He went 4-for-7 on the day, raising his team-high batting average to .402. Shapiro came off the bench to go 2-for-3 with one run scored.

The Bears will now sit and wait for Monday's NCAA Selection Show, airing at 12:30 on ESPN, to see who they will play, and where, in the NCAA Regionals from June 1-4.