WALTHAM, Mass. - The Brandeis University baseball team has been selected as the No. 4 seed in the ECAC Division III New England Championship tournament. The Judges, with a record of 18-18, will take on fifth-seeded Rivier College (16-15) on Wednesday, May 7. With a start time of 6:00 p.m., the contest will be the first home night game in Brandeis baseball history.
Brandeis will be making its ninth ECAC tournament appearance under head coach Pete Varney and its fifth in the last six years. The Judges boast a young line-up with an experienced pitching staff, as their top four hitters are all rookies and sophomores, while senior pitchers have accounted for 10 of the squad's 18 victories. Offensively, rookie utility player Drake Livada of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, leads the team with a .402 batting average and 33 RBI, while sophomore 2B John O'Brion of Portland, Maine, is hitting .353 and pacing the squad with six home runs and 10 doubles. On the hill, seniors Rocco Toppi of Portland, Maine, and Tyler Robinson of Manotick, Ontario, are 5-2 and 5-3, respectively, with ERAs of 3.46 and 4.78. Brandeis earned a share of the 2008 University Athletic Association title, their first since 2003.
Rivier College finished third in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) regular season before falling in the first round of the conference tournament. The Raiders are led by senior outfielder/pitcher Franco Pisano who is fourth in the GNAC in ERA (4.14) and fifth in batting average (.377). This will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
After the first round on Wednesday, the ECAC tournament will become a double-elimination format hosted by Roger Williams University on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The top-seeded Hawks will face the Brandeis/Rivier winner at 1 p.m. on Friday, with No. 2 seed Wentworth Institute of Technology and No. 3 seed Mass. Maritime Academy playing at 4 p.m. Elimination games will take place at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, while the championship game will be played at 12 noon on Sunday, with a second game to follow if necessary.