Judges prevail over UR, 7-6, in 12 innings

Brian Ing '14 (Photo by Joe Burns)

SANFORD, Fla. – Brandeis University senior 1B Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 12th inning tonight, extending his hitting streak to seven games in the process, to lead the Judges past the University of Rochester, 7-6, in a University Athletic Association baseball contest. Brandeis improves to 6-4, 1-1 in the UAA, while the Yellowjackets fall to 4-2, 1-1 UAA.

At the outset of the game, it looked to be a pitcher's duel Brandeis sophomore Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) scattered seven hits over the first six innings,  striking out three and walking two. Britton retired the side in order only once, but was aided by a second-inning pickoff by sophomore catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole). He was able to bear down in tough situations, stranding a runner at third base three different times, including with only one out in the first and sixth innings.

Meanwhile, UR starter Nick Cacciola gave up just four hits of his own over the first six innings, but three of them came in the third inning when Brandeis scored the game's first run. With one out, junior RF Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore J.F.K.) singled to left field. Rookie SS Dom Schwartz (San Francisco, Cal./Lowell) singled to right-center – his first collegiate hit – and sophomore DH Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) followed suit, to center, one out later to break the ice.

The Judges finally picked up some breathing room against Cacciola in the seventh inning by playing small ball. After Rosenberg was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, sophomore LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) bunted him to second, and Malis followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners. Schwartz followed with a squeeze bunt that the pitcher fielded but couldn't get an out on, giving Schwartz his first career RBI. Next, junior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) beat out a double-play ball to allow Malis to score and make the score 3-1.

Rochester finally got on the board in the seventh. Britton started the inning with some control problems, walking two batters and issuing a wild pitch. Junior lefty Alex Tynan (Barnegat, N.J./Barnegat) retired the first batter he faced, but he allowed an  RBI double to Yellowjacket SS Alex Caghan to spoil the shutout bid. Tynan was able to strand yet another runner at third base, however, with two big outs. Brandeis ran its way to another run in the eighth, when senior CF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) plated Ferro with one out, who had singled and stole second.  Deshler also swiped a base, but was stranded at second.

UR wasn't done yet, however, loading the bases with no body out in the bottom of the eighth against Tynan on a single and two walks. That bought Judge sophomore Jesse Link (Weston,  Conn./Weston) out of the bullpen. Though he allowed two inherited runners to score, one on a walk and another on a sacrifice fly, he did a nice job of limiting the damage to two runs, getting a force at the plate on a comebacker to the mound as well.

Ahead 4-3 headed into the ninth, Brandeis manufactured two more runs. Malis singled, stole second, moved to third on a Schwartz bunt and came plateward on a wild pitch. Two more errors later in the frame produced the team's sixth run. Link remained in the game in the bottom of the ninth, and a pair of walks nearly cost the Judges the game. UR loaded the bases with one away.  3B Chris Davis responded with a double down the left field line that brought Rochester within 6-5 with two runners in scoring position. Link was unable to leave the tying run on base, but he did force LF Dan Ludwig to trade an out for a run and leave the winning run at third.

In the extra innings, Brandeis rookie Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) was outstanding, allowing just two base runners, one on a walk and another on an error, but never let them advance past second base. After getting one runner in the 10th and none in the 11th, the Judges finally broke through in the 12th. Junior 3B Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx H.S. of Science) singled to center to lead off and was bunted to second by Ferro. Deshler grounded out to short to get Chu just 90 feet away, and Rosenberg followed with a ball back up the middle that plated the winning run off UR reliever Stephen Cool. Ing retired the side in order in the bottom of the 12th to earn his first collegiate win.

While Rosenberg supplied the most heroic hit, Malis was one of the game's top performers, going 3-for-5 and a game-high three runs scored. He also stole a base. Chu, Ferro and Schwartz also had multi-hit games, with Ferro's double the only extra-base hit for the Judges.

Caghan was Rochester's top offensive performer, going 3-for-7 out of the leadoff hole with two doubles and an RBI. Cool suffered the loss, allowing three hits and one earned run in 3.1 innings.