Nicholson, heart of the lineup, lead Brandeis past UMass-Boston, 9-2

WALTHAM, Mass. - Brandeis sophomore right-hander Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole) tossed his team-leading third complete game of the season and the Judges' 4-5-6 hitters went 9-for-13 with a home run, three RBI and five runs scored  to defeat the visiting UMass-Boston Beacons, 9-2, on Stein Diamond today. Brandeis moves to 14-19 overall, while UMB falls to 13-18.

      Nicholson improved to 5-4 on the season by scattering seven hits over nine innings of work. He struck out six and did not walk a batter, allowing just one earned run. Nicholson snapped a personal three-game losing streak, but it was the third-straight game that he worked into the ninth inning.

      Offensively, the trio of junior 1B Drake Livada (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth), sophomore 3B Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) and junior 2B John O'Brion (Portland, Maine/Portland) were the stars. Livada, the clean-up hitter, recorded his fourth-straight game with at least three hits, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored. His RBI in the first inning tied the game at 1-1 after UMass-Boston had opened the frame with a home run in the first. Livada, the reigning UAA Co-Player of the Week, has 15 in last 22 at-bats (.682), raising his season average from .290 to .365.

      Deshler went 2-4 with a run scored out of the five-hole, while O'Brion was 3-for-4 with three runs scored, an RBI and a solo home run. His round-tripper leading off the second gave Brandeis a 2-1 lead. It was O'Brion's third of the season, tying him for the team lead in homers and extra-base hits with nine.  

      After UMass-Boston tied the game in the top of the third, the Judges scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the frame on an error in the outfield that allowed rookie SS Joe Correia (Belleville, N.J./Montclair Kimberly Acad.) to score from second on a Livada single. They added two more runs in the fourth on RBI ground-outs, and blew it open with four in the seventh, with the big blow a two-run single by senior DH Mike Alfego (Shrewsbury, Mass./St. Johns).

      The Beacons were paced by sophomore 2B Ryan Walsh (Newton, Mass./Newton North), who produced the team's solo home run in the first as part of a 2-3 day. Junior LF Drew Tambling (Streling, Mass./Littleton) also had two hits on the afternoon, while rookie RF Ty Buccetti (Wallingford, Conn./Xavier) had the team's only other extra-base hit, a fifth-inning double. Sophomore Frank Yarovsky (Phillipston, Mass./Narragansett Regional) suffered the loss on the hill, lasting four innings and giving up six hits, five runs (three earned). He struck out one and hit a batter.

      The Judges are back in action tomorrow at 3 p.m. against Endicott College, coached by 1999 Brandeis graduate and former assistant coach Bryan Haley. UMass-Boston heads to top-ranked Southern Maine at the same time for a Little East Conference game.

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