April 3, 2011

Baseball sweeps WPI, 12-5 & 8-7, behind Deshler, Ferro and Swerdloff

WALTHAM, Mass. –  The Brandeis University baseball team scored in 10 of their 12 at-bats today, giving the Judges a sweep of visiting WPI, 12-5 and 8-7, on Stein Diamond today. With the wins, Brandeis improves to 13-10, surpassing their win total from 2010 and avenging a sweep at the hands of the Engineers from last season, while WPI falls to 9-13 on the campaign.

In game one, the stars of the game for Brandeis were senior CF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) and sophomore catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole), who both went 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Each had a home run, the first two round-trippers for Brandeis this season. Deshler added two stolen bases to his season total, while Ferro had a triple.

Ferro's two-run bomb in the bottom of the first inning – the sixth of his career - answered a two-run top of the frame by WPI. The Engineers went back on top in the second on a blast to the deepest part of the ball park by rookie RF Alex Posch (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale), brother of recent Brandeis graduate Artie Posch '10. In the bottom of the inning, with two on and two out, Deshler drove the first offering of his at-bat against WPI senior starter Kyle Boucher (Manchester, N.H./Calvary Christian) over the fence in left-center field. The 10th round-tripper of Deshler's career gave the Judges for good at 5-3.

Brandeis added an unearned run in the third and two more in the fourth, while WPI scored one each in the fourth and fifth. Taking an 8-5 lead into the sixth, the Judges blew the game open with four more runs. Two came home on an RBI single by senior 1B/P Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole), while Ferro's first career triple on a shot to center field added another and senior DH Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J/Indian Hills) closed out the scoring.

In addition to Ferro and Deshler, sophomore LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico), Nicholson and junior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) each had two hits in the contest. WPI had one multiple hitter, as sophomore 1B Daniel Thomas (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

On the hill, Brandeis sophomore Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) evened his record at 2-2 with 4.1 innings of work, allowing seven hits and five runs (four earned). He struck out five and walked one. Three Brandeis relievers allowed just one hit and one hit batter in the final 2.2 innings. Boucher suffered the loss for WPI, falling to 2-3 with 3.1 innings of seven-hit ball/ He gave up eight runs (six earned), walked two and struck out two.

In the second game, Brandeis jumped out to a big lead and hung on for their 8-7 victory. Sophomore lefty Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley) was in command for the Judges, allowing just four hits in six innings and striking out a career-high 11 Engineer batters. The 11 strikeouts in a game was the highest by a Brandeis pitcher since 2007. Swerdloff had at least two strikeouts in every inning he worked but one, and fanned the side in the third, improving to 2-2 on the season in the process. WPI junior Forrest Dwyer (Winthrop, Maine/Winthrop) suffered the loss, allowing 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in 3.1 innings of work to fall to 1-2.

At the plate, every Brandeis starter but one had at least one hit, with Cortese, Nicholson, Rosenberg and rookie 3B Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) getting two each. Seven different Judges had an RBI or a run scored, with Deshler the only player with multiple RBI and Nicholson the only player to cross the plate twice. The Judges also had five doubles on the afternoon from five different players. WPI junior SS Nick Bean (Middleboro, Mass./Middleboro) led the Engineer attack by going 3-for-4 with four RBI, three runs scored, two doubles and a grand slam.

Ferro and Rosenberg had back-to-back two-baggers in the first inning to give Brandeis a 2-0 lead. A Deshler sacrifice fly in the second and RBI singles by O'Hare and Ing in the third put the Judges ahead, 5-0. Bean doubled to lead of the fourth for WPI and scored after two ground outs to get the Engineers on the board.

Cortese doubled, stole third and scored on a Nicholson sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth, but Bean's second double in the sixth was followed by a Thomas single two batters later that made the game 6-2. The Judges added what would prove to be two key runs in the bottom of the sixth. Junior reserve LF Zach Malis  (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore J.F.K.) hustled out a double when the wind played havoc with his infield pop-up. Deshler followed with a triple to deep right-center field, his second of the campaign, and scored on a Cortese single that made it 8-2.

In the seventh inning, Nicholson came on to relieve Swerdloff, and the Engineers took advantage of the change. Senior 3B Bryan Watkins (Belmont, Mass./Belmont) singled to open the frame, and Nicholson plunked pinch hitter Alberto Mateo with a pitch. After rookie LF David Trujillo (Sutton, Mass./St. Johns Prep) singled to load the bases, Bean continued his hot game with a blast to center field, his first of the season, to make the game interesting at 8-6. Back-to-back Brandeis errors allowed the fifth run of the inning to cross the plate and put the tying run on first with one out. Engineer junior 2B John Flynn (Albion, Maine/Lawrence) singled to move Thomas into scoring position at second, but Nicholson struck out Posch and got Watkins to fly out to left to wrap up the sweep for the Judges.

Brandeis is back in action Tuesday at 3 p.m. against Tufts, while WPI has key NEWMAC games against cross-town rival Clark on Tuesday and Wednesday.