WELLESLEY, Mass. – On a day that featured numerous brief rain showers, the Brandeis University baseball team defeated host Babson College, 10-5, today. Originally scheduled to be played at Brandeis, the game was switched to Babson to take advantage of better field conditions. Brandeis improved to 9-18 and snapped a seven-game losing streak with the victory, while Babson fell to 18-11 on the campaign.
The Judges opened the scoring in the second inning with three runs. With runners on the corners and one away, sophomore OF Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore JFK) opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left field. Two batters later, after a walk to junior CF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) , senior 2B James Likis (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge and Latin) drove a two-run double to right-center field to give Brandeis a 3-0 lead.
Babson responded in the bottom of the frame. After Brandeis senior righty Drew Brzozowski (Concord, Mass./Concord-Carlisle) issued a lead-off walk, Beaver rookie DH Chris Kucher (Westwood, Mass./Xaverian Brothers) blasted the first pitch he saw off a tree over the centerfield fence for his sixth home run of the season.
Babson claimed their first lead in the bottom of the third with a pair of unearned runs. Senior CF Peter O’Toole (Salem, Mass./St. Johns Prep) led off with a single, and after a Brzozowski strikeout, sophomore 1B Travis Jonasson (Needham, Mass./Catholic Memorial) reached on an error when confusion caused the middle infielders to miss a ball up the middle. An errant pick-off attempt put both runners in scoring position, but Brzozowski induced a come-backer to the mound to get the second out of the inning. Kucher followed and laced a 2-2 pitch to deep centerfield, giving the Beavers a 4-3 lead. Junior 2B Billy Besinger followed and hit the first pitch he saw to right field to give the hosts a 5-3 lead. Brzozowski settled down at that point, retiring 12 of the last 15 hitters he faced.
Brandeis tied the game in the top of the fifth inning. With one away, sophomore 3B Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx H.S. of Science) doubled down the right-field line. Rookie catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) singled up the middle to put runners on the corners. Senior DH Artie Posch (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale) plated Chu with a single to right, and Ferro came home on a double steal, scoring while Posch was caught in a pickle out to tie the game. Babson had a chance to go ahead in the bottom of the fifth when Kucher drew a two-out walk. Besinger followed with a drive to center field, but Likis took a cut-off throw from Deshler and gunned Kucher down at the plate.
The bottom of the order helped the Judges score what proved to be the winning run in the sixth and add some insurance in the seventh. In the sixth, senior RF John O’Brion (Portland, Maine/Portland), batting eight, singled to third and moved to second on a throwing error. Nine-hitter Malis followed with a bunt back to the mound, and pinch runner Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) beat the throw to third. Deshler then lined a 1-2 pitch to right, allowing Cortese to come home with the go-ahead run. After Malis stole second, the Beavers made a couple of nice plays in the outfield to strand him in scoring position. In the top of the seventh, Brandeis tacked on four insurance runs with two outs when Cortese dropped a single right on the left-field line followed by a three-run home run to the opposite field by Malis. It was his second of the season and his career, making the score the 10-5 final.
Brzozowski earned the win with seven innings of six-hit ball He struck out four and walked three, allowing five runs, only two of which were earned. Brzozowski improved to 3-5 on the season with his third complete game of the season and the sixth of his career. Junior reliever Austin Dadio (Branford, Conn./Branford) suffered the loss, his first decision of the season, giving up six hits and five runs (four earned) in 2.1 innings of work. Sophomore Trevor MacNeill (Hanover, Mass./Hanover) got a no-decision in 4.2 innings of action, allowing nine hits, five earned runs, striking out three and walking one.
Offensively, the Judges were paced by Malis, who drove in four runs in just two official at-bats, thanks to a sac fly, sacrifice bunt and a three-run home run. Junior Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) went 4-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Chu and O’Brion also had multiple hits.
Babson was led by Kucher, who was 2-for-2 with a walk, a home, a double, two runs scored and four RBI. Bessinger was 3-for-3 with an RBI, but the rest of the Beaver line-up managed just one other hit in 20 at-bats.
Originally planned as a twinbill, today’s second game was called in the top of the fifth inning after a 30-minute rain delay. Brandeis had scored twice to take a 5-3 lead in the frame, but violent rain and hail rendered the field too wet to continue, forcing the game to revert to a 3-3 tie short of an official game.
Brandeis returns to action against Amherst College on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., while Babson faces Wentworth Institute of Technology tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in a game rescheduled from March 30.
Images from this game will be available during the week at www.sportspix.biz.