Baseball drops pitcher's duel with Salem State, 3-2, in New England opener

SALEM, Mass. (courtesy Salem State sports info) -- The Brandeis baseball team and opponent Salem State College combined for just nine hits today, but it was the host Vikings who were able to bunch theirs together and claim a 3-2 win at The New Salem State College Baseball Field in the Judges' first game up north.

The Judges (5-3) led 1-0 after four innings courtesy of a two-out RBI single from senior outfielder Chuck Sheehan (Lexington, Mass.) in the third. SSC (9-4) responded in the next frame when sophomore DH Steve Mucci's (Walkill, N.Y.) sacrifice fly to left scored senior outfielder Anthony Palmieri (Peabody, Mass.), who had led off the inning with a double off of senior starting righty Rocco Toppi (Portland, Maine). Palmieri advanced to third on ground out and then scored to tie the game at 1-1.

SSC added a pair of runs in the sixth with a two-out rally off of Toppi. Viking senior outfielder Bobby Celentano (Peabody, Mass.) lit the flame for the Vikings with a walk. Celentano then stole second. Senior first baseman Ken Loungo (Wilmington, Mass.) stepped up a drove a base hit to right field that was mis-played, allowing Palmeiri to score standing up. Freshman clean-up hitter and shortstop Ryan Kane (Nahant, Mass.) drove home Luongo with what would prove to be the margin of victory when he blasted a two-bagger into the right-centerfield gap that drove Toppi from the game.

Sophomore right hander Kyle Ritchie (Brewster, Mass.) came on to get out of the inning and shut down the Vikings, the rest of the way allowing a walk and a runner to reach on infield error. Brandeis, which took its 1-0 lead on a a third inning, two-out RBI single from sophomore John O'Brion (Portland, Maine) got a pinch hit two-out RBI single from sophomore Drake Livada (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) in the seventh to cut into the lead, but were unable to get any more against Salem State senior right hander Scott Lynch (Malden, Mass.). Lynch improved to 3-0 on the season, logging nine innings and scattering five hits while striking out five and issuing just one free pass.

The Judges are scheduled to host Wheaton College tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., but field conditions will decide if the game is played in Waltham or at Wheaton's home field in Norton, Mass.