March 14, 2007

Baseball suffers first defeat of season, 6-5, to Rochester

SANFORD, Fla. -- The Brandeis University baseball team took a 4-2 lead into the eighth inning against the University of Rochester, but the Yellowjackets took advantage of Brandeis wildness to emerge with a 6-5 victory in University Athletic Association (UAA) action today at Historic Sanford Stadium today.

Brandeis (2-1) got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning when senior RF Ben Dashefsky (Massapequa, N.Y.) singled to center field to plate sophomore DH Mike Alfego (Shrewsbury, Mass.), who had walked with two outs.

UR (3-2) responded in the next half inning. Brandeis junior hurler Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine) hit Rochester junior LF Jim Bard with a pitch to lead off the inning - one of eight hit batsmen by Brandeis pitching on the day, four of whom scored. Bard stole second and junior 2B Jay Jay Vanderstine singled him to third with junior SS Ed Kahovec tying the game when he reached safely on a squeeze bunt.

The Yellowjackets took the lead in the fourth. The first two batters were hit by pitches, but Brandeis rookie catcher Artie Posch (Hopedale, Mass.) threw out one runner trying to steal. The other scored on an RBI triple by rookie CF Andy Cannon, who was thrown out by senior LF Jon Winston (Nanuet, N.Y.) after overrunning the bag.

The Judges had their big inning in the bottom of the sixth. Senior SS Zach Golden (Milton, Mass.) singled to lead off the inning and scored three batters later on the second career home run by senior 2B Jeff Bourdon (No. Adams, Mass.). Rookie 3B James Likis (Cambridge, Mass.) followed with a double and scored on an Alfego single to center field. UR junior John Fishback came on to record the final out of the inning.

Rochester's key frame came in the top of the eighth against the Brandeis bullpen. Rookie reliever Kyle Ritchie (Brewster, Mass.), who came in to escape a second-and-third, no-out situation in the seventh, hit the first two batters he faced and gave up a bunt single to junior catcher Devin Shane to load the bases. Junior hurler Chris McDonough (Sudbury, Mass.) came on and struck out the first batter he faced, but gave up a run on a wild pitch in the process. Senior 1B Frank Infurna singled up the middle to tie the score at 4-4, while Cannon gave UR the lead with a single to right and a Bard sacrifice fly gave them a two-run cushion.

Brandeis got a run back in the bottom of the eighth, but couldn't take further advantage. The Judges had runners on first and third with two out when Alfego put a ball in play. The Rochester catcher was called for catcher's interference on the play, allowing the run to score and landing runners on the corner again. Unfortunately for the Judges, UR catcher Shane atoned for his error by picking the tying run off of third base. The Judges put runners on first and second with one out in thje ninth, but couldn't convert the tying run.

Ritchie suffered the loss in relief for the Judges, allowing just one hit in his inning of work, but three hit batters came back to haunt him. Toppi allowed just two runs in six innings, giving up five hits and striking out four. He walked one and hit four batters. Offensively, Dashefsky, Golden and Posch all turned in two-hit games, while Bourdon's home run and Likis' double were the only extra base hits for the Judges.