May 1, 2007
Providence, RI - Senior tri-captain Devin Thomas (Gainesville, FL) showed why he is a leading candidate for Ivy League Player of the Year on Tuesday, blasting three home runs and driving in nine runs in a 6-for-7 day as the Brown baseball team (22-18) swept Central Connecticut State (16-17), 14-11 and 14-7. Thomas broke Brown's single-season RBI record, ending the day with 54 to pass the previous record of 48 held by Pete DeYoung '99, and tied the single-season home run mark of 14, set by John King '79.
Both games were long slugfests, with the first taking nearly three hours to play seven innings and the second taking almost two hours before being called after the top of the fifth due to darkness. Making Thomas' accomplishments on the day more impressive was that he caught all 12 innings, squatting down for a total of 295 pitches over that span, including 194 in the first game alone. Runs were scored in 17 of the 22 half-innings between the two squads, with the Bears putting at least one run across in every inning but the bottom of the fifth in game one. Brown had 14 hits in each game as well.
Thomas paced the Bears by going 3-for-3 with a walk in the first contest, blasting a solo home run in the first to put the Bears up 1-0 and driving in two with a double in a seven-run second inning. He also walked and singled in the game. Joining Thomas in taking advantage of a strong wind blowing out to right field were junior Jeff Dietz (Altamonte Springs, FL), sophomore Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA), and senior tri-captain Bryan Tews (Park Ridge, IL), who hit their seventh, second, and sixth home runs of the season, respectively. Junior Ryan Murphy (Mantoloking, NJ) also got on base in all of his plate appearances, scoring four times. He hit a triple in the third that also nearly carried out, walked once, and was hit by pitches twice.
The teams traded runs for the entire game. Brown's seven-run second inning put the home team up 8-3, but the Blue Devils worked their way back, eventually retaking the lead, 11-10, in the top of the sixth. However, the Bears responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning to make that lead change short-lived, getting junior Peter Moskal (Glastonbury, CT), who worked 3.1 innings of relief, his first collegiate win.
In game two, Thomas and Murphy stayed hot, both going 3-for-4 and scoring three runs. Thomas had two home runs, both in the Bears' nine-run fourth inning, a two-run shot to center that tied the game, 7-7, and a grand slam that capped the scoring in the frame. Murphy, meanwhile, hit his second homer of the season in the first inning, also to center. Joining that pair in the fun was sophomore Brad Rifkin (Columbia, MD), who went 3-for-3, driving in three runs and scoring once. Nuzzo also picked up a hit in the game, extending his hitting streak to 17 games.
Junior Alex Silverman (Wilmington, NC) turned in the Bears' best pitching performance of the day in game two, going two scoreless innings and allowing just one hit and one walk while notching three strikeouts. He earned the win to go to 2-3 on the season.
With this mid-week warmup out of the way, the Bears will spend the rest of the week getting ready for the Ivy League Championship Series this weekend with Penn. The Quakers (20-17, 12-8) have not played since splitting a doubleheader with Cornell one week ago, while the Bears have played eight games since then. Saturday's doubleheader, consisting of two, nine-inning games, will begin at 12 p.m., with the second game to be played approximately 30 minutes after the first ends. If the teams split, a winner-take-all third game will be played at 1 p.m. on Sunday.