Brandeis wins bullpen battle with Fitchburg State, 13-10

WALTHAM, Mass. – The lead changed hands five times today, but the Brandeis University baseball team emerged victorious thanks to a four-run eighth inning that led them past the visiting Fitchburg State College Falcons, 13-10.

Brandeis (9-7) took a 9-8 lead into the eighth inning, but Fitchburg State (8-8) rallied to load the bases against Judge sophomore closer James Collins (So. Boston, Mass.). FSC sophomore 3B Joe Rashid (Hampton, N.H.) singled through the right side of the infield to give the Falcons a 10-9 lead.

The Judges responded by sending seven men to the plate in the bottom of the frame. Senior 2B Jeff Bourdon (No. Adams, Mass.) led off with a walk against Fitchburg State senior lefty Nick Botelho (Halifax, Mass.). Sophomore Nick Gallagher (Southboro, Mass.) bunted him to second, allowing senior RF Jon Winston (Nanuet, N.Y.) to tie the game at 10-10. After Botelho got the second out of the inning, senior SS Zach Golden (Milton, Mass.) drew his third walk of the game to put runners on first and second.

Rookie 3B James Likis (Cambridge, Mass.) followed with a pop-up to shallow right field that got caught in the wind and fell in, allowing Winston to come home with the winning run. Golden scored his fourth run of the game on a single to center field by rookie DH Drake Livada (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), while Likis scored on a double steal for the game's final run.

Golden was the offensive star for Brandeis, going 2-2 with four runs scored, four RBI and his first home run of the season and the fifth of his career. Golden's three-run shot to deep left-center field in the fifth inning tied the game at 7-7. He also drove in the Judges' first run of the game in the second inning. Likis had a career-high four hits, going 4-5 with an RBI and a run scored, while Winston had the only other multiple-hit and RBI game for the Judges, going 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored.

FSC was led by junior 1B Jim Abreau (Mansfield, Mass.) and senior RF Shawn Kinney (Bennington, Vt.). Abreau was 3-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI. He gave the Falcons an 8-7 lead in the sixth inning with an RBI single. Kinney finished the day 2-5 with a double, a sacrifice fly, two runs scored and three RBI. Kinney put Fitchburg State ahead in the fifth inning, 5-4, with a two-run double. He also played one of their three first-inning run with his sac fly.

Only two pitchers emerged from the game without allowing a run after facing more than two batters. Brandeis junior Mike Dax (Delmar, N.Y.) was the most effective, allowing just one hit and striking out two in 2.2 innings after starter Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine) lasted just 0.1 of an inning. Falcon sophomore Brian Lawlor (Medford, Mass.) allowed a hit and a walk in the seventh inning, but avoided trouble with two strikeouts.

Collins improved to 2-2 for the Judges with 2.2 innings of work, giving up six hits and two earned runs. Botelho fell to 0-2, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks in the eighth.

Brandeis plays host to Salem State College tomorrow at 3:00, while Fitchburg State heads to Westfield State for a MASCAC doubleheader Saturday at noon.