April 25, 2007
Hanover, NH - While clouds rolled over Dartmouth's Red Rolfe Field on Wednesday, the playoff picture for the Brown baseball team (16-17, 11-5 Ivy) was getting a lot sunnier. The Bears swept Dartmouth (6-25-1, 3-13) in a makeup Ivy doubleheader by scores of 7-3 and 12-7, while Harvard (15-16, 10-6) split with Yale (15-24, 7-9), giving Brown the Red Rolfe Division lead heading into the final weekend of the season.
In the first game, junior Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL) held Dartmouth to two runs, both unearned, in six innings, then gave way to junior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT), who allowed one run in the final inning. Dietz had six strikeouts, scattering five hits and one walk, upping his record to 5-3. Moskal came in and didn't allow a hit, instead being snake-bitten by a walk and a fielding error before closing the door on the Big Green.
The Bears solid throughout the order, as all nine starters registered at least one hit. Sophomore Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) led the Bears with two hits , while senior Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL) had two runs and two RBIs, both team highs.
In both games, sophomore Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) led off with a triple, although in game one, he was thrown out at the plate on what would have been a sac fly to right by freshman Chris Tanabe (Jupiter, FL). However, the Bears rallied with two down. Thomas walked, then advanced to third as Dietz reached on a fielding error by the first baseman. Nuzzo then brought Thomas in with a single to right field for a 1-0 Brown lead.
The Big Green got a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead back, but four runs in the top of the second gave the Bears the lead for good. With one out, junior Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) was hit by a pitch, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Junior Brian Kelaher (Farmington, CT) doubled him in, then scored along with Tanabe, who had walked, on a double by Thomas. Dietz then brought Thomas home with a single before being thrown out at second.
With Dietz cruising on the mound, Brown got two more in the fifth. Dietz walked to lead off, then advanced to third on an error by the third baseman on a ball hit by freshman Nick Puñal (Wellington, FL). Senior Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL), sophomore Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA), and Murphy followed with three straight singles to make the score 7-1. Dartmouth got one in the seventh, but it was not enough.
In game two, starter James Cramphin (Simsbury, CT) cruised through the first four innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. In the meantime, the Bears built a lead. In the first, Murphy singled in Daniels after the sophomore's second leadoff triple of the day. Daniels scored again in the third, coming in on an error by Dartmouth first baseman Raymond Allen. Brown broke the game open in the top of the fifth, as consecutive singles by junior J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI), Daniels and Murphy preceded a double by Thomas, which scored two. Dietz plated Murphy with a sacrifice fly, and later a Papenhause RBI single ended the scoring in the inning.
Finally, in the bottom of the fifth, the Big Green started to get to Cramphin. Two walks and two hits led to one Dartmouth run in the fifth, and then the Big Green scored six runs, three earned, in the sixth on five hits, an error, a hit-by-pitch, and a wild pitch, taking a 7-6 lead. That inning proved to be Cramphin's last, as the senior ended with eight hits, four walks and three strikeouts in six innings.
However, a rally in the top of the seventh was enough to get Cramphin his fourth win of the season. Thomas led off with his team-best eighth home run to tie the game. A Dietz walk, Nuzzo single and Tews single loaded the bases for Papenhause. Another Dartmouth error led to Dietz and Nuzzo coming home, giving Brown the lead. After two outs, Daniels doubled to bring home Tews and Papenhause.
One more run in the ninth, as Tews tripled and was driven in on a Papenhause single, would end the scoring, while senior Ethan Silverstein (Woodbridge, CT) and junior Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) combined for three innings of scoreless relief. Silverstein didn't allow a baserunner in two innings of work before giving way to Hallberg, who got two strikeouts in the ninth as he ended the game.
Daniels was deadly at the top of the order, finishing the second game 4-for-6 with three runs and two RBIs, also stealing his 21st base of the year. Papenhause had another fantastic game, as he continued some recent hot hitting, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Tews, Murphy, and Thomas all had two hits, with the latter driving in three runs and scoring a pair.
Now in sole possession of first in the Red Rolfe Division, the Bears control their own destiny. With a four-game sweep of Yale this weekend, Brown will win the division, while a 3-1 mark in those games guarantees the team at least a tie with Harvard, who will play Dartmouth in a four-game set. Should Brown and Harvard tie, there would be a single-game playoff next Wednesday. If there is not, the division winner would face the winner of the Lou Gehrig Division next weekend in a best-of-three series. On Wednesday, Penn clinched a share of the Gehrig Division title, with Princeton needing a sweep of Cornell this weekend to tie the Quakers.
In the meantime, the Bears will play a non-conference match-up at Holy Cross on Thursday.