March 27, 2008

Bears' Rally Spoiled by George Mason Walk-Off HR in 6-5 Loss

March 27, 2008

Box Score

Fairfax, VA - After scoring two runs in the top of the ninth to cap a five-run, six-inning comeback and tie the game, George Mason left fielder Scott Krieger led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off home run, as the Patriots (11-12) handed the Brown baseball team (6-8) a tough 6-5 loss at Spuhler Field on Thursday afternoon. Playing their seventh game in six days, the Bears got a big effort from sophomore Rob Wilcox (Columbia, SC), who pitched into the seventh in his first start of the season.

Down two runs entering their final at-bat, the Bears were able to load the bases, with freshman first baseman Pete Greskoff (Paoli, PA) reaching on a Patriot throwing error, freshman pinch hitter Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) ripping a single to left, and senior left fielder Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) reaching on bunt down the third base line. Junior center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI), who had been red-hot entering the game, then grounded into a double play, bringing home pinch runner Chris Tanabe (Jupiter, FL) but bringing Brown to its last out.

Freshman second baseman Ryan Zrenda (Old Lyme, CT), batting second for the first time this season, walked on four pitches to bring up junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA). With an 0-1 count, Nuzzo singled to left, bringing Colantonio home with the tying run and moving Zrenda to third with the potential go-ahead run. However, senior designated hitter Conor Reardon (Branford, CT) struck out to end the inning.

However, the Bears' momentum from tying the game quickly evaporated in the first at-bat of the ninth. Freshman Greg Karwaski (Media, PA) entered the game, getting to a 1-2 count on Krieger before the junior crushed the next pitch to right center to end the game.

The Patriots scored four runs in the second off of Wilcox to jump out to a lead, but the sophomore right-hander was able to induce a double play with the bases loaded to get out of the jam. Wilcox stayed in with the Bears needing to rest their staff for the weekend, and he recomposed himself well, holding GMU scoreless in the next four innings.

The Bears, meanwhile, finally got going in the middle innings, scoring runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth to pull within one. Zrenda scored the first with some help from the Patriots, reaching on a single, moving to third on a botched pickoff attempt, then scoring on a wild pitch. Getting his first collegiate start, Greskoff hit a home run for his first career hit in the fifth, and junior third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) brought in Zrenda on a double in the sixth.

Wilcox pitched to three batters in the seventh before being lifted for senior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT). Wilcox allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks, striking out two and throwing 100 pitches in 6.1 innings, earning a non-decision. Moskal allowed one run to come in on a sacrifice fly upon entering the game, then got another fly out to get out of the inning. He allowed one hit and one walk in a scoreless eighth.

Reardon and Papenhause each had a pair of hits on the day, while Nuzzo went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games. Daniels had two steals to give him 10 stolen bases for the year and nine in his last seven games, moving him past recent Brown Hall of Fame inductee Todd Carey '93 for seventh all-time at 48 career steals. Zrenda was 1-for-3 with two walks.

On Friday, the Bears will get a much-deserved day off. The team is 3-4 on its current road trip, including two one-run losses to Duke and George Mason, and takes a 6-8 record into Ivy play, its best such mark since 2002. Brown begins its Ivy League season on Saturday with a doubleheader at Columbia, then heads back south for a rematch of the 2007 Ivy League Championship Series at Penn on Sunday.