WALTHAM, Mass. - WPI junior lefty Nolan Murphy (Shrewsbury, Mass./St. Johns) outpitched Brandeis sophomore righty Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole) over the first eight innings of the game today as the Engineers defeated the Judges, 4-0, on Stein Diamond. WPI improves to 19-9 with the win, while Brandeis falls to 11-17.
Murphy improved to 5-1 on the season by holding Brandeis to just four hits in his eight innings of work, striking out four and walking two. He allowed just one Brandeis runner past first base before giving way to classmate Thomas Whiting (Farmington Hills, Mich./Orchard Lake St. Mary's). Whiting had runners on the corners with one out in the ninth, but held on to help produce the Engineers' fifth shutout of the season and second in a row.
Nicholson, meanwhile, allowed eight WPI hits over the first eight frames, but allowed just two unearned runs in the third in that span. He benefitted from three double plays, including a 1-4-3 twin-killing in the seventh. Nicholson ran in to some trouble in the ninth, when he gave up two more runs, on three straight hits after getting the first two outs. Nicholson fell to 4-4 despite finishing with seven strikeouts. That tied his career-high, set two other times this season.
The Engineers broke through in the scoring in the top of the third. Sophomore 1B Bryan Watkins (Belmont, Mass./Belmont) led off with a single. Junior catcher Joe Walsh (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) then laid down a bunt single. With runners on first and second, junior 2B Mark Dignum (Albany, N.Y./Shaker), the leadoff hitter, squared to bunt, but pulled back. Thinking the runners were going, the Brandeis catcher threw to an uncovered third base, allowing Watkins to score from second and Walsh to move to third base, where he scored on an infield groundout.
WPI tacked on their insurance runs in the ninth thanks to a double by rookie 3B Nick Bean (Middleboro, Mass./Middleboro) and back-to-back singles by junior pinch hitter Matt Moreau (Manchester, N.H./Manchester Central), who stole second, and junior CF Cody McGregor (Westfield, Mass./Avon Old Farms).
Bean was the top offensive player of the game, going 3-4 with two doubles and a run scored, while Watkins went 3-3 and crossed the plate.
At the plate, Brandeis was paced by rookie RF Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx Science), who was 2-3, while senior DH Nick Gallagher (Southboro, Mass./St. Johns) had the team's only extra-base hit, a two-out double in the second inning.
The Judges are next in action at home against Johnson & Wales tomorrow at 3:30 p.m., while the Engineers travel to third-ranked Wheaton College for a NEWMAC doubleheader Saturday at noon.