April 11, 2008

Bears Host First-Place Dartmouth for Four-Game Set

April 11, 2008

Brown (12-13, 4-4 Ivy) vs. Dartmouth (14-9, 7-1 Ivy)
Saturday, April 12, 12 p.m.
Game 1: RHP Anthony Vita (2-2, 2.59) vs. LHP Russell Young (3-2, 3.28) (live audio at bsrlive.com)
Game 2: RHP Will Weidig (2-3, 6.03) vs. RHP Jake Pruner (2-1, 11.51)
Sunday, April 13, 12 p.m.
Game 1: RHP Alex Silverman (4-0, 5.76) vs. LHP Robert Young (2-2, 4.24)
Game 2: RHP Matthew Kimball (1-1, 6.29) vs. RHP Chase Carpenter (3-2, 6.28)
Live Stats Link for all games

With a 20-game season compressed into five weekends, every Ivy League game is certainly important. However, for teams in the playoff hunt, there always seems to be one series that stands out ones intra-division play starts. For the Brown baseball team, this weekend will see the first-place Dartmouth Big Green come to town for a four-game set that will likely be that do-or-die series.

At 7-1 in the Ivy League, Dartmouth (14-9) has a 2.5-game lead on second-place Yale (5-2) and a three-game lead on the Bears. With Harvard sitting in last at 1-7, the Red Rolfe Division has almost completely reversed itself from last season, when the Big Green had only five wins in 20 Ivy games and the Crimson lost just eight.

The Bears enter the weekend having evened their Ivy record thanks to a 3-1 home weekend, sweeping Cornell and splitting with Princeton. Senior Anthony Vita (West Babylon, NY) provided the pitching highlight of the weekend, going seven innings against the Tigers to pick up his first career complete game in a 2-1 win. He gave up just three hits and one walk in the outing, inducing 15 ground ball outs. Sophomore right fielder Nick Puñal (Palm Beach, FL) hit .556 (5-for-9) on the weekend, while junior shortstop Matt Nuzzo (Everett, MA) provided the power with three doubles and two home runs in the four games.

On the year, freshman catcher Matt Colantonio (Garden City, NY) has a team-high .427 average. However, it's Puñal who leads the team during Ivy play with a .409 average. Nuzzo's four home runs, which have all come since last Wednesday, lead the team, as do his 23 runs scored and 25 RBIs. Junior center fielder Steve Daniels (Fox Point, WI) leads the team and the Ivy League with 12 steals.

Scouting Dartmouth
The Big Green nearly got through their eight games against Lou Gehrig Division opponents, but split a doubleheader with first-place Columbia on Monday. Dartmouth's strength this season has been in its pitching, particularly its four starters. Senior captain Russell Young, his sophomore brother, Robert Young, senior Chase Carpenter, and freshman Jake Pruner have combined to pitch 55.2 of the Big Green's 65.0 Ivy League innings, going 7-1 and posting a 2.91 ERA. The Youngs, both left-handers, have each thrown two complete games, although one of Robert's was the lone Dartmouth loss.

In the bullpen, freshman Ryan Smith is Dartmouth's closer, earning two saves in four Ivy appearances, allowing just two unearned runs in 3.1 innings pitched. Senior Bobby Steinsdoerfer has allowed just one hit but walked four in 3.1 scoreless innings as well. Senior Kyle Zeis, an honorable mention All-Ivy reliver in 2007, has made just one Ivy appearance, allowing five runs and not recording an out, walking four, hitting a batter, and uncorking a wild pitch.

At the plate, junior first baseman Michael Pagliarulo has a .469 average in Ivy play to lead the Big Green, while his .403 mark in all games also leads his team. He has four homers on the year, tied with 2007 second team All-Ivy center fielder Damon Wright for the team lead. Senior shortstop Erik Bell and sophomore right fielder Nick Santomauro are second and third on the team in average in Ivy play at .387 and .385, respectively.

The Dartmouth-Brown series
The Bears and Big Green have met 205 times dating back to 1926, with Dartmouth holding a 105-98-2 edge overall. Last season, Brown swept all four games with Dartmouth, which were split both by time and location. On Saturday, April 14, Brown won 20-2 and 10-3 in Providence, as snow in Hanover prevented any games from being played up there. Once the snows thawed, the Bears trekked north and swept again on Wednesday, April 25, 7-3 and 12-7.

The Tale of the Tape (Conference stats)
Batting Average: Brown .278, Dartmouth .329
On-base Percentage: Brown .355, Dartmouth .446
Slugging Percentage: Brown .387, Dartmouth .435
Home Runs: Brown 3, Dartmouth 3
Stolen Bases-Attempts: Brown 5-9, Dartmouth 5-9
Earned Run Average: Brown 6.20, Dartmouth 3.46
Batting Average Allowed: Brown .290, Dartmouth .276
Strikeouts: Brown 46, Dartmouth 36