March 12, 2008

Baseball falls to No. 5 Emory, 7-5, despite O'Brion's second blast

SANFORD, Fla. -- The Emory University baseball team batted around and scored four runs in the fourth inning and the fifth-ranked Eagles hung on for a University Athletic Association (UAA) victory, 7-5, over the Brandeis University Judges in Sanford, Fla.

Emory (11-3, 2-0 UAA) opened the scoring in the third inning, taking advantage of wildness by Brandeis senior Craig Letendre (Acushnet, Mass.). Although the Eagles were unable to bunt along a lead-off walk, a single up the middle and a wild pitch put runners on second and third with one out. Letendre got a strikeout for the second out, and coach Pete Varney elected to intentionally walk the next batter. Unfortunately, a bases-loaded wild pitch brought home the game's first run before Letendre could retire the batter.

Brandeis (3-1, 2-1 UAA) got the run back, also on a wild pitch, in the top of the fourth. Junior 1B Nick Gallagher (Southboro, Mass.) led off with a walk and was replaced by senior SS Malcolm Cone-Coleman (Portland, Maine) on a fielder's choice. Senior CF Chuck Sheehan's (Lexington, Mass.) bunt was thrown away, putting runners on second and third, and a wild pitch brought home Cone-Coleman.

Emory's big inning came in the bottom of the frame. A bunt single led off the inning, though a sacrifice attempt to move the runner along was popped up. The Eagles loaded the bases on a hit-batsman and an infield single. Sophomore CF Tommy Dugan (Rockville, Md.) plated the go-ahead run on another hit-by-pitch, while classmate LF Dan Molnar (Long Grove, Ill.) hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to push the lead to 3-1. RBI singles by senior 2B Joe Roth (Niwot, Colo.) and senior 3B Frank Pfister (Los Angeles, Calif.) drove Letendre from the game as Judge junior righty David Packard (Laguna Beach, Calif.) came in to get the final out.

Brandeis responded with a run in the top of the fifth when sophomore catcher Artie Posch (Hopedale, Mass.) walked, moved to second on one wild pitch and scored as junior DH Mike Alfego (Shrewsbury, Mass.) reached on a dropped third strike. The throw to third to try to nail Posch as he was advancing went into the outfield, trimming the lead to 5-2. Emory added RBI singles by Pfister in the sixth and Roth in the eighth to push the margin to 7-2.

The Judges cut into the lead in the top of the ninth as rookie pinch-hitter Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J.) reached on a dropped third strike. After classmate Jeff Dennis (Newton, N.H.) struck out, rookie LF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass.) singled. That brought up sophomore 2B John O'Brion (Portland, Maine), who took Emory relieve Will Gumm (Colleyville, Texas) deep to left field. O'Brion's second round-tripper of the tournament brought the Judges to within two, 7-5, but rookie Charlie Robbins (Stuart, Fla.) came in to retire the last two batters to earn his first collegiate save.