April 23, 2008
Providence, RI - Pitching was the story on Wednesday as the Brown baseball team (15-24) to a split with Holy Cross (19-22) at Murray Stadium. In the first game of the set, freshman Josh Feit (Woodcliff Hills, NJ) and senior Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY) combined to allow no earned runs in a 5-3 Brown win. However, despite scoring 10 runs in the third inning, the Bears were unable to hang on to two seven-run leads in a 14-12 loss in the nightcap.
At the plate, the Bears were led by sophomore right fielder Nick Puñal (Palm Beach, FL), who showed no ill effects from an injury that kept him out of Brown's last three games. He went 5-for-6 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, driving in two runs and scoring three. Junior center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) also had five hits and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two, also stealing his 16th base of the season.
Feit got the start in the opener, allowing three unearned runs on just three hits and two walks over 5.2 innings, striking out two. Vita, working out of the bullpen on a day he would have thrown on the side anyways preparing for his weekend start, threw the final 1.1 innings, retiring all four batters he faced and earning the win.
The Crusaders got started early, scoring three runs in an inning prolonged by a fielding error by Feit. After a leadoff walk to Brendan McCrea and a sacrifice bunt, Feit bobbled a soft grounder back to him by catcher Brendan Akashian. After Gil Gomez singled to load the bases, Feit struck second baseman Jake Gorman out, but then allowed a bases-clearing double to first baseman Eric Oxford. However, as Oxford attempted to go from second to third on the throw to the plate, freshman Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) fired the ball to third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA), easily getting the out to end the inning.
After that, Feit settled in nicely, allowing just two baserunners on a hit and a walk in 4.2 innings. The Brown lineup then went to work. In the second, the Bears had three singles, but stranded two runners and had another thrown out at the plate, but they finally broke through in the fourth off of starter Dan Seip thanks partially to a Holy Cross error. Papenhause led the inning off and reached on a bad throw by shortstop John Sills. A Papenhause steal and a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out, and senior Brian Kelaher (Farmington, CT) drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to left. Another walk reloaded the bags, bringing reliever Ryan George into the contest. Daniels greeted George by hammering a ground ball into George's left foot, from where it kicked off towards the first base line allowing all runners to advance. However, George was able to strand three with a strikeout to end the frame.
Puñal tied the game in the fourth, bringing Papenhause in with a single to left. The Bears then took the lead in the sixth. Senior J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI) reached when George dropped an iffy throw from Oxford as he covered first. Daniels singled again, followed by a single by freshman second baseman Ryan Zrenda (Old Lyme, CT) to bring in the go-ahead run. Junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) then gave the Bears some insurance with a long sac fly to left.
After the break, Holy Cross again grabbed a 3-0 lead, scoring once in the first on a Gomez double and twice in the third on a Gorman home run to left off of sophomore starter Matt Boylan (Danvers, MA). Things quickly changed, as the Brown offense exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the third. Fifteen batters came to the plate in the frame, knocking 10 hits, including four doubles, and reaching on three walks. All nine batters scored at least one run, with sophomore Chris Tanabe (Jupiter, FL) scoring twice, and eight batters drove in at least one run. Holy Cross starter Tim Thran was removed with one out in the inning, and his replacement, Dmitri Seredenko, failed to record an out. Reliever Chris Blanchard allowed four runs before getting the final out.
To the Crusaders' credit, they did not stay down, scoring at least two runs in each of the remaining innings. Sophomore Rob Wilcox (Columbia, SC) relieved Boylan after he hit the leadoff batter in the fourth, allowing that runner to score and three of his own in 1.2 innings of work. Senior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT) gave up three runs in an inning of work before giving way to freshman Davis Wedgworth (Montgomery, AL), who gave up a single that scored one of those runs, before Oxford was tagged by Eno after rounding first too far.
In the top of the seventh, senior Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) entered, looking to break Brown's career saves record. He looked dominant at first, striking out the first and third batters he faced, with the second batter reaching on a dropped fly ball. However, the next batter, third baseman Matt Perry, took him deep to left to tie the game, and after a Gorman single, pinch hitter Nick Ciardiello hit another home run to left to score the eventual game-winning runs. In the bottom of the inning, Gil Gomez, who had moved from right field to the mound in the sixth, threw his second scoreless inning to get the win.
This weekend, the Bears will play their final Ivy games of the season, playing a home-and-home series of doubleheaders with Yale. Both sets will start at 1 p.m., with Saturday's contests at Murray Stadium and Sunday's in New Haven. Saturday will also be Senior Day, as Brown's eight seniors will play their final home games.