April 30, 2008
Smithfield, RI - For the third time in four seasons and seventh time in the last 10, the Brown baseball team (20-24) has won 20 games, as the Bears topped Bryant (36-16) by a 10-5 score in 10 innings at Bryant Baseball Complex on Wednesday afternoon. After the Bulldogs, ranked 23rd in the nation and first in the region in Division II, pulled ahead, 3-0, freshman Matthew Kimball (Nashville, TN) kept the Bears in it with five scoreless innings of relief, as the team tied the game before scoring seven runs in the top of the 10th to put the game away.
Junior third baseman Robert Papenhause (Hillsborough, CA) led the offense, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, and two runs batted in. Junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) was 3-for-5 with a double, two runs, and an RBI. Senior designated hitter Conor Reardon (Branford, CT) had two hits to close his career with an 18-game hitting streak, a team high for the year, while senior Brian Kelaher (Farmington, CT) closed his career by going 2-for-4.
With the game tied, 3-3, the Bears sent 11 batters to the plate in the 10th, blowing the game open. Reardon led off with a double down the right-field line, and was lifted for pinch runner Joe Mellano (Bonsall, CA). Nuzzo was intentionally walked before the Bulldogs got the lead runner on a fielder's choice.
An error by first baseman Dylan Stone loaded the bases for Papenhause, who started a parade of hits with a single to right. Freshman second baseman Ryan Zrenda (Old Lyme, CT) chased Adam Vuolo with an RBI single, and after a wild pitch by Eric Polvani allowed freshman catcher Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) to score, freshman Peter Greskoff (Paoli, PA) brought in another run with a pinch-hit single.
Junior center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) tripled next, bringing in two runs, then scored in the next at-bat when senior J.J. Eno (Kahului, HI) singled to right. Polvani finally got out of the jam by retiring the next two batters, but the damage was done. Bryant got two back in the bottom of the inning when left fielder Pat O'Connor homered to right to put a damper on freshman Andrew Bakowski's (Stamford, CT) first career appearance, but Bakowski retired the next batter to end the game.
Bryant got to Brown's starter, freshman Josh Feit (Woodcliff Hills, NJ), for three runs in the first two innings. Third baseman Jason Alexander, who was 3-for-3 with two hit-by-pitches, led off the game with a double, later scoring on a double play. In the second, Feit walked catcher Jeff Vigurs to lead the inning off. He got a pop up and a strikeout from the next two batters, but gave up consecutive singles to designated hitter Mark Dondero, second baseman Dave Muscatello, and Alexander, with two runs scoring before the third out.
Kimball entered for the third and allowed just two hits over the next five innings. On one single, Dondero was thrown out at first base after rounding the bag by sophomore right fielder Nick Puñal (Palm Beach, FL). Alexander reached in the fifth after being hit by a pitch, but Colantonio threw him out attempting to steal second. Right fielder Taylor Ferguson was the only Bulldog to not be retired during Kimball's stint, as he reached on a bunt single in the seventh and was stranded.
In the meantime, the Bears caught up. In the top of the third, Nuzzo drove Daniels on a single to center for the first Brown run. In the next inning, Papenhause doubled to right with one out, scoring two batters later on a single down the left-field line by Kelaher.
In the fifth, the Bears threatened with two outs. Nuzzo singled to right, and was followed by Puñal, who did the same, but was thrown out at second attempting to advance on the right-fielder's throw to third to try to retire Nuzzo.
Bryant starter Brett Almeida left after the seventh with a one-run lead, having allowed two runs on nine hits over seven innings. Bulldog reliever John Michael Ryan began the eighth, but lasted just one batter, as Nuzzo drove a double to right-center to lead the inning off. Mark Andrews retired the next two batters before being lifted for Vuolo, who gave up a game-tying RBI double to Papenhause.
Senior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT) and pitched the first two-thirds of the eighth before senior Rob Hallberg (River Edge, NJ) entered to get the final out with Alexander on third. Hallberg pitched a scoreless ninth, then allowed a single to Alexander to start the 10th before getting two outs and being relieved by Bakowski.
Hallberg picked up the win to go to 1-3 on the season, while Vuolo fell to 1-3 in picking up the loss.
The win ends the Bears' 2008 season.