March 14, 2011

Baseball rallies but falls short against WashU, 8-6, in UAA finale

SANFORD, Fla. – The Brandeis University baseball team scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but it wasn't quite enough as the Judges dropped an 8-6 decision to Washington University in the next-to-last game of the 2011 University Athletic Association (UAA) tournament. With the win, the Judges wrap up their trip to Florida with a record of 7-7 overall and 2-4 in the UAA, finishing fourth in the conference.

Brandeis fell behind early when WashU scored an unearned run in the top of the first. Junior RF Brandon Rogalski (Mount Pleasant, S.C./Wando) doubled with two outs and scored on an error one batter later.

The Judges claimed their first lead in the fourth inning, scoring twice on an two-run single by senior 1B Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills). Washington University bounced back with two of their own in the top of the fifth. After senior 2B Travis May (St. Louis, Mo./Webster Groves) doubled, Rogalski tied the game with an RBI single. He moved to second on the throw home, to third on balk and scored on another Judge defensive miscue.

May did the damage for the Bears in the sixth inning with his second double of the game that plated two runs. WashU tacked on three more runs in the eighth, two of which were unearned, to make the score 8-2.

Brandeis wasn't done, however, as they scored one run in the eighth when junior 3B Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx H.S. of Science) doubled and scored on a single by sophomore catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) to make the score 8-3, Bears. In the ninth, they continued their rally, as the first three batters all singled to load the bases against Bear sophomore Stephen Bonser (Washington, D.C./ Sandy Spring Friends). Bonser got the next two outs on a fly out and a grounder to second by junior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional). O'Hare beat out the potential double-play ball to produce a run and keep the inning alive.

Bonser then hit sophomore DH Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) with a pitch, reloading the bases. That brought up Chu, who singled through the left side to score two runs and make the deficit two at 8-6. WashU then summoned another reliever, senior H.T. Flanagan (Dallas, Texas/Cistercian Prep), who plunked Ferro to load the bases again, but followed it up by getting senior Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) to ground to short and end the game.

The Judges were anchored by the middle of the lineup, as the three through six hitters (Chu, Ferro, Deshler and Rosenberg) all went 2-for-4 on the day, producing eight of the team's 10 hits. Chu and Deshler each had doubles, while Chu and Rosenberg were the team's multiple RBI producers. Sophomore Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley) suffered the loss in relief, giving up four runs on four hits in 3.1 innings of work. He struck out three and walked two.

Washington was paced by the top of its lineup, as the 1-2-3 spots of rookie CF Kyle Billig (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township), May and Rogalski went 7-for-14 with five runs scored, five RBI and three doubles. Bonser ended up with the victory, allowing seven hits and four runs in 4.2 innings of work with two Ks and no walks. The Bears ended up falling to Emory, 9-8, on a walk-off home run, in the final game of the UAA tournament, giving the Eagles the outright conference title and avoiding a three-way tie between EU, WashU and Case Western Reserve University.