April 29, 2007

Baseball ends season on down note, dropping two to Trinity, 6-1 & 7-6

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University baseball team ended its regular season on a down note today, suffering a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Trinity (Conn.) College Bantams on Stein Diamond. Trinity won the opener, 6-1, before holding off a late Brandeis charge in the second game, 7-6.

Trinity (26-6) rode the arm of junior Michael Regan (West Roxbury, Mass.) in the opener. The right-hander threw a seven-inning eight-hitter, needing just 80 pitches to toss his first complete game of the season. Regan struck out one and walked none to improve to 5-0 on the season.

Offensively, the Bantams used a pair of two-run home runs. Rookie 1B Kent Graham (Longmeadow, Mass.) went deep for the seventh time this season in the fifth inning, while sophomore catcher Sean Killeen (Greenfield, Mass.) launched his six round-tripper in the seventh. Sophomore 2B Ryan Piacentini (Portland, Maine) drove in the other two runs with singles in the fourth and sixth innings.

Brandeis (14-15) got their only run in the bottom of the sixth inning, when senior Jon Winston (Nanuet, N.Y.) went deep to right-center field for the second time this season and the 14th time in his career. Junior lefty Tyler Robinson (Manotick, Ontario) suffered the loss, allowing five hits and four runs (two earned) in five innings of action. He struck out four and walked one, falling to 5-3 on the season.

In the second game, Trinity jumped out early, scoring three unearned runs in the first inning and eventually claiming a 7-1 lead. It looked as if Bantam junior Jon Rappaport (Longmeadow, Mass.) would cruise to victory before the Judges scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Rappaport retired the first two hitters of the frame before surrendering a single and hitting a batter. A key catcher's interference call with rookie 2B Jon O'Brien (Portland, Maine) kept the inning alive, as the next four Brandeis hitters singled. Rookie 3b James Likis (Cambridge, Mass.) and catcher Artie Posch (Hopedale, Mass.) both knocked in two runs, while junior pinch hitter Mike Alfego (Shrewsbury, Mass.) drove Rappaport from the game with an RBI single the cut the score to 7-6 and put runners on the corners.

At that point, Bantam coach Bill Decker summoned sophomore Eric McGrath (Lynn, Mass.) from the bullpen. McGrath struck out the first batter he faced to end the threat. In the seventh, he surrendered a one-out walk to fellow Lynn native Ryan Healey. Winston followed with a fly ball to the deepest part of the ballpark, but rookie CF Matt Sullivan (No. Reading, Mass.) flagged it down and McGrath struck out the next batter to earn his first save of the year.

Trinity was led in game two by Graham, who went 2-3 with three runs scored and a double, while rookie RF James Wood (Windham, N.H.) was 2-4 with a double and two RBI. Junior LF Matt Stafford (Plymouth, Mass.) was 2-3 with three RBI. Rappaport improved to 4-1 on the hill.

Brandeis got two hits and two RBI from Likis in the second game, while O'Brion crossed the plate twice. Junior pitcher Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on five hits in three innings of work. He is 0-2 on the season.