April 27, 2009

Baseball bounces back with 9-6 win over Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. (taken from an Amherst College press release) -- Rookie CF Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) went 3-5 with a double, two RBI and three runs scored, while senior David Packard (Laguna Beach, Calif./Sage Hill School) picked up the win with his longest career outing and sophomore Nick Pollack (Brooklyn, N.Y./Berkeley Carroll School) retired all nine batters he faced for his first save as the Brandeis baseball team defeated Amherst College, 9-6, in a nonconference contest.

Brandeis (16-21) jumped out in the first inning, when a lead-off single by rookie SS Julian Cavin (Brooklyn, N.Y./Beacon School) led to a pair of wild pitches by Amherst hurler Pat Harris (Rochester, NY). Cavin scored on a sacrifice fly by rookie LF Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx Science), before the Judges scored their second run of the frame on an error. Harris was able to limit the damage, and get out of the top of the first with Amherst trailing just 2-0 on a pair of unearned runs.

After a pair of ground-outs to second base to start the bottom of the first, Amherst sophomore Scott Shaffer (Boulder, CO) hit a solo homerun to left-center field. The opposite way shot was Shaffer’s second homer of the season.

In the top of the second, Harris left the game with an injury, giving way to junior left-handed pitcher John D’Angelo (Woodbridge, CT). Brandeis put the Lord Jeff reliever to work immediately, opening up a 5-1 lead before the second was half over. The big blow was a two-run single by junior DH Drake Livada (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth) Once again, in the bottom of the second, Amherst took a run back on a solo shot to left-center. Senior captain Angus Schaller (Leucadia, CA) provided the fireworks this time, hitting a line-drive shot off Brandeis’s Packard. The homerun was the 17th career round-tripper for Schaller, leaving him one short of the all-time Amherst career mark of 18.

Amherst was unable to score another run over the next few innings, as Brandeis increased its lead to 7-2 heading into the top of the fourth. The Jeffs looked to start a one-out rally, before the Judges ended the fourth with a 6-4-3 double-play.

The Lord Jeffs closed the gap to four in the bottom of the fifth inning, riding a superb individual effort by first-year John Wagner (Evanston, IL). The Amherst rookie led off the inning with a double, and then scored on a play at the plate as the attempt to catch him stealing third went into left field. The effort jump-started the Amherst offense, which then quickly loaded the bases for first-year catcher Thomas Wheeler (Minnetonka, MN).

Senior Mike Neff (New York, NY) scored from third to close the margin to 7-4 on a passed ball, as Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, NY) and Brendan Powers (Walpole, MA) advanced to second and third. Wheeler reached on a fielder’s choice, as Heller was gunned out at home by sophomore 3B Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) for the second out of the fifth. Schaller delivered once again, scoring Powers from second with a bloop single to short left-center with two outs.

Brandeis added another two runs in the top of the sixth, starting the inning with a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases. Livada delivered a bases-loaded single to knock on one run, before the Judges added another run on a John O'Brion (Portland, Maine/Portland) groundout. Over the next two innings, Amherst was unable to close the gap any further, sending the Judges to take the field leading 9-6 in the bottom of the eighth.

Packard took the win for Brandeis, going 5.0 innings while giving up six hits and five earned runs. Pollack pitched three innings of no hit relief to close out the game with the save for the Judges. Harris took the loss for the Lord Jeffs, while Blank was a bright spot out of the bullpen with 4.0 innings-pitched, and three hits and no runs allowed.

Shaffer paced the Lord Jeff’s at the plate, going 2-for-5with an RBI on his homerun, and scoring two runs. Schaller went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run-scored. Cavin and Sean O’Hare led the Brandeis offense, as each scored three runs, while combining to go 5-for-10 with two RBIs.