February 19, 2010

Malis goes deep in the 10th to propel baseball to first win of season, 7-6, over Trinity (Texas)

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Brandeis University sophomore right fielder Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellemore John F. Kennedy) made his first career extra-base hit count, as he sent a 2-2 pitch down the left-field line and over the fence in the top of the 10th inning, lifting the Judges to a 7-6 win over host Trinity (Texas) University for their first victory of the season.

Brandeis (1-2) fell behind early, as the Tigers took advantage of wildness from Judge junior lefty Justin Duncombe (Canyon Country, Calif./Canyon), who walked five and hit a batter in just 1.1 innings to give up three runs on just one hit. Trailing 3-0, the Judges got one run back in the top of the third. Junior DH Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian River) walked, moved to second on an errant pick-off, third on a bunt and scored on a single by junior 3B Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.).

Trinity (7-2) answered with two more in the in the bottom of the third against rookie reliever Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley), one of which was unearned. The lefty settled down and got through the fourth, striking out two. That gave the Judges a chance in the fifth, when they reclaimed the lead with five runs. Sophomore RF Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) singled to lead off the frame. Rosenberg followed and reached on an error when his grounder was thrown away as the Trinity 3B tied to start a double play. After the Tigers got the lead runner on a bunt by rookie CF Nick Cortese (Guayanbo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico), sophomore SS Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) singled up the middle to cut the lead to 5-2. After a strikeout, sophomore LF Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx H.S. of Science) stroked a two-run double to left center, getting the Judges with one, 5-4.

That brought up senior catcher Artie Posch (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale). Moved up to the clean-up role after his torrid start, in which he hit safely in his first seven at-bats, Posch launched his second home run of the season and the fifth of his career. Posch is hitting .667 (8-12) with a double and two home runs for a 1.250 slugging percentage and seven RBI over his first three contests.

Swerdloff kept the Tigers at bay, retiring the side in order in the fifth and sixth with a pair of strikeouts. The Judges threatened in the top of the seventh with two outs, as Deshler walked, Chu singled and Posch walked, but Trinity junior Kevin Calbick was able to get out of the frame unscathed.

The hosts used the momentum in the bottom of the seventh, as junior catcher Kyle Felix led off with a double and moved to third on a ground-out. After Swerdloff issued a walk, Brandeis coach Pete Varney summoned senior Kyle Ritchie (Brewster, Mass./Nauset Regional) from the bullpen. After a stolen base put runners on second and third, Ritchie worked carefully to Trinity DH Dominic Robusto, walking him to load the bases and set up a double play. Instead, Ritchie got the next two batters himself with some terrific breaking balls.

Brandeis stranded two more runners in the eighth, including Malis, who had entered as a pinch-runner after Destremps reached on an error. Ritchie cruised through the bottom of the eighth, and the Judges were unable to take advantage of another Tiger error to get insurancec in the top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth, Trinity tied the game with speed. After a one-out single by senior 1B Evan Jones, junior John Paillet came on to pinch run. Paillet took off for second on the first pitch, and the throw to second went into the outfield. As Paillet went to third, the Judges' throw to try to catch him sailed into the dugout, knotting the game at 6-6. Brandeis kept another runner of the basepaths on a fine two-out diving catch in centerfield by Cortese, forcing extra innings and allowing for Malis's heroics.

After a lead-off single and stolen base in the bottom of the 10th, Ritchie retired the side in order, including a tremendous diving catch by senior 2B John O'Brion (Portland, Maine/Portland) to end the game. Ritchie earned the win with 3.2 innings of two-hit ball, allowing just one unearned run and striking out three and walking one. Junior Noah Solomon got a no-decision despite striking out 11 in 6.2 innings of work and allowing just one earned run. Calbick suffered the loss with 3.1 innings of work, allowing just one hit, Malis's round-tripper.

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