Bears Top UAB, 8-5, To Split Opening Series
March 2, 2008
Birmingham, AL - Behind a 12-hit attack and solid pitching performances from freshman Matthew Kimball (Nashville, TN) and senior Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY), the Brown baseball team (2-2) beat UAB, 8-5, to come away from its season-opening four-game series with a split. Freshman catcher Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) led the Brown attack, going 2-for-3 with two walks, scoring one run and driving in two more.
Kimball was impressive as the second Brown freshman to make his first career start on the weekend, allowing one run over five innings. He gave up four hits and five walks, striking out four. Vita picked up the win in relief, throwing 1.1 hitless, scoreless innings, walking one batter.
The Bears, whose eight runs were scored by eight different players, got on top with three runs in the second inning. After loading the bases on a single by junior third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA), a double by senior designated hitter Conor Reardon (Branford, CT), and a walk by freshman second baseman Ryan Zrenda (Old Lyme, CT), Brown went to work. Sophomore Joe Mellano (Bonsall, CA) brought in one run on a fielder's choice that turned into an error on the second baseman. Colantonio then brought in Reardon and Zrenda on a single to right.
The Blazers got to Kimball for one run in the bottom of the second, but the score remained 3-1 until the bottom of the seventh, as the Bears left eight runners on through the fifth, sixth, and seventh. Sophomore Matt Boylan (Danvers, MA) relieved Kimball after he walked the first batter of the sixth, ending the inning with a strikeout and double-play ball. However, UAB got to the left-hander for three runs, going up 4-3, before Vita came in to end the inning with a groundout.
The UAB lead did not last long, however. Sophomore right fielder Nick Puñal (Palm Beach, FL) brought in senior J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI), who pinch hit for Mellano, with a sacrifice fly to start the scoring. After the Bears loaded the bases, junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) was hit by a pitch to give the Bears a 5-4 lead. Papenhause brought in junior center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) with another sac fly, and two more came in when Zrenda reached on a throwing error.
Senior closer Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) came on in the ninth, allowing one run, but ultimately shutting the door on the win. This marks the earliest the Bears have picked up their second win in a season since 2002, when they won their first two games against North Carolina A&T.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities, as Brown left 13 runners on base to UAB's 10. For the first time all series, the Bears played errorless ball, despite having nearly no outdoor practice entering the weekend.
Next weekend, Brown will travel back south to Gainesville, Fla., to take on the Florida Gators in a three-game series.