Deshler heroics rally Brandeis baseball past Case, 6-5

SANFORD, Fla. - Sophomore LF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) singled with the bases loaded to drive in two runs and give the Brandeis baseball team a 6-5 walk-off victory over Case Western Reserve University in University Athletic Association (UAA) action at Historic Sanford Stadium.

Brandeis (4-4, 2-1 UAA) trailed going into the bottom of the ninth after the Spartans (4-9, 2-2 UAA) had gone ahead in the top of the frame. Rookie LF Matt Richards (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./San Clemente) doubled to lead off the top of the ninth for Case and got bunted to third. Brandeis sophomore hurler Nick Pollack (Brooklyn, N.Y./Berkeley Carroll School) induced a ground out with the infield in to get the second out, but sophomore catcher Chad Mullins (Fredericksburg, Ohio/Waynedale) came through with the go-ahead RBI for his first hit of the game.

In the bottom of the inning, Case rookie pitcher Sam Alexander (Alexandria, Va./T.C. Williams) got the first out of the inning, but Brandeis sophomore DH Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass./Wapole) singled, followed by junior RF John O'Brion (Portland, Maine/Portland). Alexander got the next out on a fly ball, but loaded the bases on a walk to rookie SS Sean O'Hare (Easthampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional). That brought up Deshler, the 2008 UAA Rookie of the Year, who plated both runs for his fourth and fifth RBI of the season.

Case opened the scoring with single runs in the third and fifth innings. Senior 2B Kevin Haley (Kent, Ohio/Kent Roosevelt) opened the scoring with an RBI single, but Deshler prevented any further damage by throwing out a runner at the plate. In the fifth, Spartan rookie SS Bobby Marko (Lyndhurst, Ohio/Brush) created a run by singling, stealing second, moving to third when the throw went awry, and stealing home. The Judges manufactured a run in the bottom of the fifth on two walks, a ground out and a wild pitch that plated junior 1B Drake Livada (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth).

The Spartans took a 4-1 lead in the sixth with three hits, but the Judges knotted the game in the seventh by plating three runs on four base knocks. Sophomore catcher Zach Wooley (Argyle, Texas/Jesuit College Prep), Nicholson and rookie 2B Joe Correia (Belleville, N.J./Montclair Kimberly Acad.) all drove home runs, setting the stage for the exciting ninth inning.

Brandeis had four multiple hitters. Livada reached base in all five plate appearances, with two singles and three walks, scoring two Brandeis runs. Deshler finished 2-for-5 with two RBI, while senior OF Mike Alfego (Shrewsbury, Mass./St. Johns) was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Correia had the Judges' only extra-base hit, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Junior Kyle Ritchie (Brewster, Mass./Nauset Reg.) gave up just four runs (three earned) in 7.1 innings despite allowing 11 hits. He struck out five and walked just one. Pollack earned his second win with 1.2 innings of work, allowing two hits and one earned run. The Judges won despite stranding 15 runners, as they drew eight walks in addition to their 12 hits on the day.