April 22, 2008

Amherst rallies to down baseball team, 10-6

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University baseball team scored in each of the first four innings, but visiting Amherst College held them to just four hits over the last five frames while taking advantage of Brandeis miscues to score five unearned runs and claim a 10-6 non-conference victory on Stein Diamond today.

Brandeis (14-14) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings. Sophomore infielder Drake Livada (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) singled home a run in the first. In the second, after sophomore James Likis (Cambridge, Mass.) doubled to put runners on second and third, senior SS Malcolm Cone-Coleman (Portland, Maine) drove in a run on a grounder to second and classmate CF Chuck Sheehan (Lexington, Mass.) laid down a successful suicide squeeze for the three-run lead.

Amherst (17-7-1) answered in the top of the third. The Lord Jeffs loaded the bases with no outs against Brandeis sophomore Kyle Ritchie (Brewster, Mass.). Junior 2B Mike Neff (New York, N.Y.) scored on a wild pitch, and rookie RF Brian Merrigan (Holbrook, Mass.) drove in a run on a grounder to short against relieve Tyler Robinson (Manotick, Ont.). Robinson struck out the next batter, but a grounder to third that should have ended the inning was booted, allowing the Lord Jeffs to tie the score.

Brandeis reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore catcher Artie Posch (Hopedale, Mass.) singled in the go-ahead run with runners at second and third. The Judges then successfully executed a double-steal, with rookie DH Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass.) scoring to give Brandeis a 5-3 lead.

The lead was short-lived, as Amherst answered with five runs in the top of the fourth. After back-to-back singles to start the frame, another error at third base loaded the bags with none out. Robinson traded a run for an out on a grounder by rookie SS Jose Espinoza (Ridgefield, Conn.), but senior catcher Josh Card (No. Adams, Mass.) and Merrigan followed with RBI singles to give Amherst the 6-5 lead. With runners at second and third, the seventh run came home on passed ball on a third strike. Senior 1B Neal Allar (Floyds Knobs, Ind.) followed with a long fly ball to center that Sheehan made a diving catch on. The Judges were able to double the runner off first, but not before the run scored from third to make it 8-5.

Brandeis got one back in the fourth on a similar play, when Livada flied out to right with runners on the corners. Sheehan scored, but the Brandeis runner on first was caught napping and thrown out at first.

Both pitching staffs settled down after that. Amherst rookie Ryan Healy (Westport, Conn.) was especially effective, allowing just two hits in three innings of work and striking out two to pick up his first collegiate win. Aside from two more unearned insurance runs in the seventh off of Robinson, relievers James Collins (So. Boston, Mass.) and Justin Duncombe (Canyon County, Calif.) stayed out of trouble.

Brandeis was paced by Livada, who was 1-4 with two RBI. Posh, O'Brion, rookie outfielder Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass.) and rookie outfielder Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J.) all had multiple hits for the Judges. Robinson suffered the loss, falling to 5-2, as he allowed six hits and seven runs – only three of which were earned – in 4.2 innings. He fanned four and walked two.