April 26, 2008

Bears Play Spoiler, Sweep Yale on Senior Day

April 26, 2008

Box Score

Providence, RI - In the final games at Murray Stadium for its eight seniors, the Brown baseball team (17-24, 7-11 Ivy) eliminated Yale (20-22-1, 9-8 Ivy) from contention for the Ivy League Championship on Saturday, sweeping the Bulldogs by scores of 8-0 and 12-6. In the opener, senior Alex Silverman (Wilmington, NC) struck out 16 batters in seven innings, picking up the win in his first career complete game. Every Brown starter either scored or drove in a run in the second game, as the Bears knocked Yale starter Brandon Josselyn from the game in the second inning and cruised to a victory thanks to 3.2 scoreless innings from the bullpen.

Silverman closed his career with a bang, coming within one strikeout of the Brown single-game strikeout record set by Bob Thornley in 1971. He allowed just two hits and five walks over seven innings, using an electric slider to keep the Elis off balance throughout the contest. He faced only one major jam, loading the bases on three walks in the fifth. However, Silverman settled down, striking out Yale's number two and three hitters to end the inning. With the win, Silverman went to 5-2 on the year.

Yale senior Brian Irving, a frontrunner for Ivy League Pitcher of the Year, took the loss, lasting just two batters into the fourth inning and giving up six runs, five earned, on nine hits.

The Bears were led at the plate by junior center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI), sophomore right fielder Nick Puñal (Palm Beach, FL), and freshman second baseman Ryan Zrenda (Old Lyme, CT). Zrenda was 3-for-3 with two doubles, scoring three times and driving in a run. Daniels and Puñal were each 3-for-4 with a double. Daniels scored twice and had a stolen base, while Puñal scored once and drove in a run. Freshman catcher Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) also had a solid game, scoring twice and driving in a run on two doubles down the line in left.

The Brown lineup sustained its attack throughout the day. In the opener, the eight runs came over four two-run innings in the second, third, fourth, and sixth frames. After knocking Irving from the contest, Bruno got to reliever Joe Castaldi for two inherited runs and two more in the sixth.

Game two saw more of the same from the Brown hitters, as the 12 runs were scored over six innings. Six Bears had multiple hits, led by senior designated hitter Conor Reardon (Branford, CT), who was 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 15 games. Posting two hits apiece were senior JJ Eno (Kahului, HI), junior Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA), Colantonio, junior Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA), and Zrenda.

Senior Brian Kelaher (Farmington, CT) picked up his first start at first base this season, the fifth position he has started at this season, going 1-for-3 with two sacrifice flies, scoring once and driving in two. Daniels was 0-for-3 but walked twice and stole his 18th base of the season, giving him 56 for his career to pass Barry Blum '79 for fifth all-time at Brown.

On the mound, senior Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY) got the win, his second of the week, to even his record at 4-4. He worked his way out of a jam in the first after giving up two runs, one earned. After two scoreless innings, he allowed one run in the fourth on a solo home run to Yale's Trygg Larsson-Danforth. He allowed another run in the fifth, then tired in the sixth, allowing two to score to make the score 9-6.

However, the Brown bullpen proved up to the task of holding that lead. Freshman Matthew Kimball (Nashville, TN) got a pair of strikeouts to end the sixth, eventually throwing 2.1 innings of scoreless ball, scattering three hits and a walk while striking out three. Seniors Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT) and Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) retired two batters each to close the game, meaning all eight seniors had key contributions to the sweep.

At the team's year-end banquet after the games, Reardon was named the team's MVP. Reardon leads the Bears with a .400 average after missing two years to a leg injury resulting from being hit by a car. Reardon is also hitting .435 in Ivy League play to lead the team, also posting team highs with a .459 on-base percentage and 30 hits. "We joke that Conor could wake up after sleeping for two or three years, pick up a bat and get a couple hits," said Head Coach Marek Drabinski at the presentation. Reardon and his classmates, Eno, Hallberg, Kelaher, Moskal, Silverman, Vita, and the injured Ryan Murphy '08 were honored before the game.

On Sunday, the Bears will close the Ivy season with a doubleheader at Yale beginning at 1 p.m. The season will end on Wednesday, when the Bears travel to Smithfield, R.I., for a game with Bryant at 3:30 p.m.