Sports

Red-hot baseball sweeps Harvard

By
Sports Editor
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Last week, the baseball team played seven games, going 6-1 over the stretch.
Brown started off the week by taking two games from Marist College in a home doubleheader on Tuesday, before dropping a game, 10-6, to UConn on Wednesday.

The Bears (19-16-1, 12-4 Ivy) then closed out the week with a four-game sweep of Harvard at home. Relief pitcher Matt Kimball ’11 was solid for the Bears all week, picking up a win and three saves in the seven-game span.

Brown 3, Marist 2
In the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, outfielder Daniel Rosoff ’12 hit a two-run homer, the first of his collegiate career, in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game, and center fielder Steve Daniels ’09 won it for the Bears with a walk-off single.

Brown 8, Marist 2
In Tuesday’s second game, Brown scored five runs in the second inning and tacked on another three in the bottom of the third.
The Bears never looked back, as starting pitcher Josh Feit ’11 allowed just one run over five innings in the 8-2 victory.

UConn 10, Brown 6
On Wednesday, the Huskies jumped out to a 7-1 lead, and though Brown was able to cut the lead to as little as three runs, the comeback bid fell short.
Second-baseman and co-captain Matt Nuzzo ’09 went 3-for-5 in the loss, with two doubles and a home run, while catcher Matt Colantonio ’11 and designated hitter Pete Greskoff ’11 each added two hits.

Brown 3, Harvard 1
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Brown scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning, including an RBI double by Daniels, and Nuzzo led off the bottom of the third with a solo homer to widen the lead to 3-0.

The Crimson (10-26, 8-8) finally got on the board in the top of the sixth, when an RBI double cut the lead to 3-1, but it was the only run Harvard would score off Mark Gormley ’11, who struck out six batters over 6 1/3 innings of work.

Kimball came on to close out the game with one out and a runner on first in the top of the seventh and final inning. After walking the first batter he faced, Kimball settled down and struck out the next two, recording his first of three saves on the weekend.

“Matt Kimball was outstanding coming out of the bullpen,” said Head Coach Marek Drabinski. “It’s nice to have your starters go deep in the game and know that you can turn the ball over to Matt.”

Brown 8, Harvard 5
In the second game, outfielder Chris Tanabe ’10 reached base on a walk in the bottom of the first, and later came around to score on an error, giving Brown a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, first baseman Rob Papenhause ’09 lined an RBI double to right field, the first of his three hits on the day, to increase the lead to 2-0.

In the top of the second, Harvard cut the lead to 2-1, and looked poised to take the lead, with runners on first and second and no outs. But starting pitcher Rob Wilcox ’10 induced a double-play grounder and got the next batter to ground out as well, keeping Bruno’s lead intact.

In the bottom of the third, Papenhause knocked a triple to center field to score Greskoff, and in the bottom of the fourth, Daniels connected on his eighth homer of the year, a three-run shot over the right field fence, giving the Bears a 6-1 cushion.

Harvard struck for four more runs off Wilcox over the next three innings, cutting Bruno’s lead to 7-5. But a solo homer from Papenhause in the seventh inning gave Brown an 8-5 lead, and Andrew Bakowski ’11 and Kimball combined for 2 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen.

Brown 3, Harvard 1
In Sunday’s first game, Brown once again jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second. After left fielder Dan Shapiro ’09 and Papenhause reached base to start off the inning, Rosoff got the Bears on the board with a sacrifice fly, and shortstop Graham Tyler ’12 added a two-run single to give Bruno a 3-0 lead.

“It always helps to get in front early,” Drabinski said. “I think it helps the pitching staff to relax a little bit.”

Sure enough, those three runs were all the offense Brown would need, as Conor Burke ’11 gave up only one run in 5 1/3 innings, and Kimball recorded the last five outs to preserve the victory.

Brown 8, Harvard 1
In the final game of the series, pitcher Will Weidig ’10 was given the start in what seemed to be a risky move. After a strong beginning to the season, Weidig had struggled of late due to mechanical problems and nagging shoulder injuries, and his most recent start had come on April 4, when he was shelled for six runs in 2 2/3 innings of work in an 18-11 win over Penn.

“We were kind of rolling the dice as coaches, hoping he could give us a solid outing,” Drabinski said. “It couldn’t have come at a bigger time for us, and he’s worked so hard.”
On Sunday, Weidig was up to the challenge. The Crimson scored the game’s first run in the top of the first, but over the next four innings, Weidig was nearly perfect, shutting Harvard out while allowing only two batters to reach base, exceeding the coaching staff’s plan, which, according to Drabinski, had called for Weidig to pitch only the first three innings.

With RBIs from Tyler, Rosoff, Shapiro, third baseman Ryan Zrenda ’11 and Paupenhause, the Bears were able to take a lead of 8-1 by the seventh inning, and Feit pitched four innings of shutout relief to keep the game out of reach for Harvard.

After the sweep this weekend, Brown is second overall in the Ivy League standings, trailing only Dartmouth (19-11, 14-2). However, in order to earn a spot in the Ivy League championship series, the Bears will have to finish atop the standings of the Rolfe Division, which includes the Big Green, though Brown is far ahead of Princeton and Cornell, who are tied for the Gehrig Division lead, at 8-8 in league play.

“We know we have to leave it all on the field and take it one game at a time,” Drabinski said. “Then we’ve got to get a little bit of help. It’s frustrating, but our guys are upbeat, and we know we still have a chance until we’re mathematically eliminated, and we’ll play hard regardless.”