March 28, 2006

Baseball falls, 5-4, after Wheaton scores three in the ninth

WALTHAM, Mass. – Wheaton College senior RF Mark Brown (Chelmsford, Mass.) singled home the winning run in the top of the ninth inning as the Lyons rallied from a two-run deficit to defeat the host Brandeis University Judges, 5-4, on Stein Diamond.

Brandeis (6-5) fell behind in the second inning when Brown hit a sacrifice fly to plate sophomore CF Pat O'Connor (Mattapoisett, Mass.), who led off the frame with a double. The Judges answered with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the second as senior catcher Phil Aurigemma (Westborough, Mass.) doubled home the tying run and classmate Scott Kuhen (Hamilton, N.J.) knocked in the go-ahead score with a grounder to second. The Judges added another unearned run in the third on another RBI groundout, this time by junior RF Ben Dashefsky (Massapequa, N.Y.).

Wheaton (8-6) stayed in the contest thanks to a fine pitching performance by senior Chris Martin (Marshfield, Mass.), who retired 13 straight Brandeis hitters at one point. The Lyons crept to within one run in the fifth on an RBI double by O'Connor, his second two-bagger of the game.

Brandeis went back on top by two in the seventh. With one out, Aurigemma singled for the team's first baserunner since the third inning. He moved to second on Kuhen's ground out and scored on a single by senior 1B Chris Navis (Walpole, Mass.)

In the decisive top of the ninth, Wheaton opened with back-to-back singles off of rookie reliever James Collins (So. Boston, Mass.), who had retired seven of the previous nine hitters he had faced. Sophomore DH Scott Guillerault (So. Portland, Maine) doubled off of senior Aaron Landes (Southborough, Mass.) to cut the lead to 4-3, while O'Connor grounded out to the right side to tie the contest at 4-4 and put a runner on third, setting up Brown's heroics two batters later.

Wheaton had five players with multiple hits in their 11-hit attack, paced by O'Connor, who went 2-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Brown also finished with 2 RBI in a 2-3 game, while junior SS Brandon Leonard (Brockton, Mass.) scored twice. On the hill, Martin gave up seven hits and four runs (one earned) in seven innings. He struck out six and walked none in getting the no decision. Senior Jaime Baker (Boxford, Mass.) got the win with two innings of hitless ball, walking one and striking out two.

Brandeis had two-hit games from Navis, who was 2-4 with an RBI and a stolen base, and Aurigemma, who was 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Sophomore Craig Letendre (Acushnet, Mass.) started for the Judges and went 5.2 innings, giving up seven hits and two earned runs. He K'ed three and walked two before giving way to Collins. Landes suffered the loss in his first decision of the campaign.

Brandeis heads to Salve Regina University tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., while Wheaton is at UMass-Dartmouth on Thursday at 3:00 p.m.