Eight-run seventh dooms baseball against Amherst, 11-2

WALTHAM, Mass. – Playing their first home game in three weeks, the Brandeis baseball team got terrific starting pitching and a long home run to score first, but the visiting Amherst College Lord Jeffs sent 15 men to the plate in the seventh inning, scoring eight runs on seven hits, to defeat the Judges, 11-1, on Stein Diamond. The Judges fall to 9-19 with the loss, while Amherst improves to 14-9.

Brandeis got a terrific starting performance from rookie Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington). Over the first six innings, Britton allowed just three hits and one run, striking out two and walking one. He retired the side in order twice and faced just three hitters in another frame thanks to a double play.

The Judges opened the scoring in the fourth inning. Senior 2B James Likis (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge and Latin) crushed an offering from Amherst sophomore lefty Dylan Joyce (So. Orange, N.J./Columbia) over the left field fence to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. It was Likis's first blast of the season and the third of his career. Two batters later, rookie catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) doubled to right, and junior 1B Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Valley) knocked a 1-2 pitch into left field for a two-out RBI and a 2-0 Brandeis edge.

The Lord Jeffs got one back against Britton in the top of the fifth. Senior 2B Will Lawton (Newton, Mass./Rivers School) reached on a fielder's choice and stole second. Lawton moved to third on junior DH Alex Coburn's (Brookline, Mass./Roxbury Latin) single and scored on a wild pitch.

Britton opened the seventh inning by hitting a batter, and Brandeis head coach Pete Varney called on his bullpen. Unfortunately, this opened up the floodgates for Amherst. Against four different relievers, the Lord Jeffs had seven hits with two walks and two hit batters mixed in. Amherst had three doubles in the frame, including two-run job to left-center by Coburn which proved to be the game-winning runs. Sophomore RF Kevin Heller (Brooklyn, N.Y./Poly Prep CDS) and junior CF Scott Shaffer (Boulder, Colo./Boulder) also had run-producing two-baggers.

Amherst added two more runs in the eighth on two more RBI doubles, one by rookie 3B Nolan Stewart (New Canaan, Conn./Choate) and another by sophomore pinch hitter Thomas Wheeler (Minnetonka, Minn./The Blake School).

There were four multiple hitters in the game. Sophomore SS Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) went 2-for-3 for Brandeis, while Stewart, Shaffer and Coburn all had two hits for the visitors.

Five different Amherst pitchers – four of whom threw two innings - combined to hold the Judges to just five hits. Junior Ryan Healy (Westport, Conn./Salisbury School) earned the win with two hitless frames, walking just one, improving to 4-3 in the process. Brandeis sophomore Alex Tynan (Barnegat, N.J./Barnegat) suffered the loss, going to 1-1.

Brandeis is next in action tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Endicott College, while Amherst takes on Trinity (Conn.) in an interdivisional NESCAC twinbill Saturday at noon.

BRANDEIS-AMHERST BOX SCORE

(image courtesy Joe Burns)

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