May 4, 2007
Providence, RI -
This weekend's Ivy League Championship Series between Red Rolfe Division Champion Brown and Lou Gehrig Division Champion Penn is the 15th installment of the Ancient Eight's baseball playoff. This is the Bears' first trip to the Ivy League Playoffs, while the Quakers will be making their third appearance in the series and first since 1995, when they defeated Yale for their only Ivy Championship.
Live on the Web: All three games this weekend will be streamed live on the Web by Brown Student Radio at www.bsrlive.com. Live play-by-play and statistics will also be available at http://advancement.brown.edu/livestats/brow/w-basket/xlive.htm.
Brown Notes: The Bears have won eight of their last nine games and 10 of their last 12 since coming back to beat Harvard, 12-8, in the second game of their four-game set. In that win, an eight-run eighth-inning rally gave Brown the win and kept the team tied with the Crimson atop the Rolfe Division. Since then, the Bears have lost one game to Harvard and one game to Yale, the back-end of the doubleheader in which they clinched the division in game one ... Brown had a midweek tune-up on Tuesday, sweeping a doubleheader from Central Connecticut State at Murray Stadium ... The Bears were the best team in the Ivy League at the plate this season, posting League-highs with a .313 batting average on the season, 17 points higher than second-place Penn, and a .346 average in League play, 39 points higher than number two Princeton ... The Bears also led the League during Ivy play in runs (161), hits (227), doubles (49), triples (13), home runs (23), and stolen bases (35).
Penn Notes: The Quakers won the Lou Gehrig Division with a 12-8 Ivy record ... The Quakers went 1-3 in their final four games, dropping both games of their second doubleheader with Princeton after sweeping the day before, then splitting with Cornell. Princeton nearly came back to win the division, taking the first three games in a weekend series with the Big Red, but Cornell's 5-4, 12-inning victory in the fourth game gave Penn the division crown ... Penn freshman Todd Roth is tied with Brown's Jeff Dietz for the Ivy League lead in overall wins (6) and Ivy League wins (5). Roth has a League-low 2.24 ERA for the season ... Roth's fellow freshman, Jim Birmingham, has given the Quakers a solid 1-2 punch on the mound. Birmingham is third in the League with a 3.30 ERA overall. The pair has combined to go 9-0 in the Ivy League ...
Brown in the Championship: The Bears matched their record for Ivy/EIBL wins this season with 14, winning the Red Rolfe Division by two games over Harvard ... This was the first Rolfe Division Championship for Brown, which will be playing for its first-ever Ivy League Championship. The Bears tied for the Rolfe crown in 2001 and 2002, but lost one-game playoffs with Dartmouth and Harvard, respectively ... Brown won the Northern Division of the EIBL (which consisted of the eight Ivy schools, plus Army and Navy), but lost a playoff with Cornell for the EIBL Championship and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Brown-Penn, The Series: In 130 meetings between today's combatants since 1926, Penn holds a slight 65-59-6 edge. Brown Head Coach Marek Drabinski, now in his 11th year, is 13-9 against the Quakers, while Penn's second-year head coach, John Cole, is 1-3 against Brown. Earlier this season, the teams split a doubleheader at Murray Stadium. Penn took the first game, 5-3, as Todd Roth allowed two runners to start the bottom of the seventh, then struck out Brown's 3-4-5 hitters - Devin Thomas, Jeff Dietz, and Matt Nuzzo - to end the game. Penn freshman William Gordon brought the winning runs in with a two-run double to left in the top of the seventh. In the nightcap, the Bears took a wild 15-12 win, as Thomas hit his second home run of the day and a triple to lead the Bears with four runs batted in and three runs scored.
Bears Among National Leaders: Several Brown players make appearances among the national leaders in many categories, while the Bears rate well as a team. (stats do not include Tuesday's doubleheader with Central Connecticut State)
0.47 Triples per Game - 8th
1.82 Stolen Bases per Game - 26th
.479 Slugging Percentage - 33rd
.313 Batting Average - 41st
0.87 Home Runs per Game - 60th
7.4 Strikeouts per 9 innings (pitching) - 61st
2.03 Doubles per Game - 65th
6.9 Runs per Game - 66th
0.29 Home Runs per Game - 33rd
1.18 RBI per Game - 35th
.685 Slugging Percentage - 38th
11 Home Runs - 54th
1.22 RBI per Game - 28th
0.41 Doubles per Game - 44th
0.18 Triples per Game - 5th
0.63 Stolen Bases per Game - 13th
9.1 Strikeouts per Nine Innings - 92nd
Murray Stadium Dedicated: On Saturday, April 21, Brown University dedicated the Bears' baseball field, Edward B. Aldrich Field, as Murray Stadium, in grateful recognition of Suzanne and Terrence Murray and their children, longstanding Brown Sports Foundation Vice President Paula Murray McNamara '84 and Christopher D. Murray '94, for their commitment to Brown and generosity in funding this stadium for Brown University baseball. The Murray family gift funded landscaping around the stadium, a new infield for the baseball diamond, and other improvements around the park.
Devo is Whippin' It Good: Senior catcher Devin Thomas has made himself a frontrunner for Ivy League Player of the Year with his play this season at the plate and behind the dish. On Tuesday, Thomas broke Brown's single-season record of 48 runs batted in, finishing the day with 54, and tied the single-season record of 14 home runs. At the end of League play, Thomas was first in the League with 24 runs scored, 28 runs batted in, seven home runs and 67 total bases. He was also second with 33 hits and three triples, and sixth with a .423 batting average. Thomas' well-known ability behind the plate also led to Ivy teams attempting fewer steals against the Bears (17) than any other Ivy team.
Here is where Thomas stands all-time at Brown:
Runs Batted In: 144 (2nd)
Home Runs: 26 (4th)
Extra-Base Hits: 72 (5th)
Total Bases: 312 (5th)
Runs: 128 (7th)
At-Bats: 586 (7th)
Triples: 8 (T-7th)
Hits: 180 (8th)
Doubles: 38 (9th)
Games Played: 164 (T-9th)
Dietz Dominant in Double Duty: Junior Jeff Dietz has been one of the Bears' top pitchers in addition to being the staff ace. His .362 batting average and 3.07 ERA in the Ivy League rank him 12th and fourth, respectively. Dietz also finished second in the League (to teammate James Cramphin) with 42 strikeouts, and was tied for first with nine doubles. His 22 runs batted in was tied for third as well. For his career, Dietz' .352 batting average is tied for seventh all-time at Brown, while his .558 slugging percentage is 10th. On the mound, his 14 wins ties him for sixth, his three 10-strikout games tie for ninth, and his 7.62 strikeouts and 2.81 walks per nine innings are both 10th. With three RBIs on Tuesday, he tied the previous Brown single-season record of 48 that teammate Devin Thomas broke the same day.
Sorry Jack, Cramphin's Back: After taking last year off from school and missing the 2006 season, senior James Cramphin has shown no ill effects from his layoff. A fixture as Brown's number-two starter behind Dietz this year, Cramphin led the Ivy League with 58 strikeouts overall and 47 in League play. A Second Team All-Ivy honoree as a freshman, Cramphin never quite fulfilled the promise of his rookie season until this year. Now, he is eighth all-time at Brown with 165 strikeouts and ninth with 206.0 innings pitched, and should move up in both categories on Saturday.
Hallberg Slams the Door: Junior Rob Hallberg has already put his stamp on Brown's record book, moving up to third all-time with 49 appearances and fourth with seven saves. He is also Brown's all-time leader in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.55, more than two and a half k's better than the next-best Bear. This season, Hallberg has a team-high three saves and 26 strikeouts in just 18.1 innings.
Left-Side On Fire: The Bears' two sophomore infielders, shortstop Matt Nuzzo and third baseman Robert Papenhause, have heated up during the Ivy League season. Nuzzo, who is currently riding a 17-game hitting streak, leads the Bears with a .429 batting average in League play, 59 points better than his season average. He's slugging .610, 104 points better than his mark for the season. Papenhause has been unstoppable the past few weeks to bring his Ivy League average to .394, 91 points better than his season average. His hot streak started when he hit a game-tying grand slam in Brown's eight-run eighth to come back and beat Harvard, 12-8, on April 21. All four of his home runs have come in Ivy play, and his .652 slugging percentage and .474 on-base percentage are 190 and 74 points higher than his averages for the entire season, respectively.