Baseball falls to 18th-ranked Wheaton, 7-1

NORTON, Mass. (courtesy Wheaton College sports information)- In their next-to-last game of the season, the Brandeis baseball team fell to alumnus Eric Podbelski '91 and the Wheaton College Lyons, 7-1. Wheaton, ranked second in New England and 18th in the nation in Division III, improved to 29-7, while the Judges fell to 11-23.

Sophomore Sean O'Hare (Southampton, MA/Hampshire Regional) recorded half of Brandeis' six hits, driving in the Judges' lone run, while freshman Chris Ferro (Walpole, MA/Walpole) drew a pair of walks.  Classmate Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, NY/Ardsley) yielded three earned runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts and no walks during 6.2 frames.

A quartet of freshmen led the Lyons, as Sean Ryan (Norton, MA/Norton) went 3-for-4 with three runs and a double, while Eric Jensen (Gorham, NH/Gorham) had two hits, a pair of RBI, two stolen bases and a two-bagger.  Southpaw Justin Santiago (Bronx, NY/Riverdale/Kingsbridge Academy) improved to 5-0 after giving up the one run on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings, and Frank Holbrook (Middletown, RI/Portsmouth Abbey School) tossed three scoreless frames to earn his first save, surrendering just one hit while fanning a batter.

Wheaton plated the game's first two runs in the second, using just one hit and two visitor errors.  Ryan beat out the third baseman's throw for an infield hit to lead off before scoring on an infield RBI grounder by senior Jeff Lieneck (Foxboro, MA/Xaverian Brothers).  With one down, junior Eric Laliberte (Nashua, NH/Bishop Guertin) drove in the Lyons' second run.

The hosts tacked on three runs in the third, taking advantage of five straight hits, including RBI doubles from Jensen and Ryan.  Junior Sean Munley (Trenton, NJ/The Hun School of Princeton) capped that stretch by singling up the middle to give the Blue and White a 5-0 advantage.  Meanwhile, Santiago yielded just one knock through the first four frames, to the second batter of the game.

Jensen's RBI fielder's choice in the home half of the fourth provided the Lyons with their sixth run.  After Brandeis cut its deficit back to five on O'Hare's two-out single in the fifth, Wheaton completed the scoring in the bottom half, pushing its seventh run across on a fielding error.  Holbrook posted 1-2-3 innings in the seventh and ninth while surrendering a harmless single in the eighth, as he retired his final six batters in order.

The Judges conclude their season tomorrow at UMass-Dartmouth at 1 p.m.

BRANDEIS-WHEATON BOX SCORE