Baseball rallies to top RIC, 5-3, in support of McGrath CG

John McGrath '11 (Photo by SportsPix)

WALTHAM, Mass. –  The Brandeis University baseball team scored five runs in its final two at-bats in support of senior righty John McGrath (New York, N.Y./Trevor Day) as the Judges rallied to defeat the visiting Rhode Island College Anchormen, 5-3, on Stein Diamond today. Brandeis improves to 15-10 with their fifth-straight victory, while RIC falls to 8-9 on the campaign.

McGrath tossed the Judges' second complete game of the season, and their first to last nine innings, by throwing 125 pitches, 75 for strikes. He struck out five and walked one, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. McGrath, who has now thrown at least seven innings in each of his last five starts, improved to 5-0 on the season with the win.

For the first six innings, Rhode Island College sophomore righty David Hoey (Lincoln, R.I./Lincoln) was in command.  Hoey (1-4) allowed just three Brandeis base-runners and struck out seven Judges through the first six frames. He faced just one hitter over the minimum thanks to a first-inning pickoff and an successful stolen base attempt in the fifth.

RIC took a 2-0 lead in the fourth thanks to a pair of long solo home runs by brothers 1B Dan Hopkins (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West) and LF Brent Hopkins (Cranston, R.I./LaSalle). Dan went deep to right field to lead off the inning, while Brent launched his to left field two batters later. It was the third of the season for both juniors. The Anchormen added an insurance run in the sixth on senior catcher Justin Corso's RBI double (Cranston, R.I/Cranston).

Trailing by three runs, the Judges got to Hoey for two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) led off with a single through the left side and senior DH Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Valley) doubled down the left field line, putting runners on second and third with one out. Cortese came home on a wild pitch to get Brandeis on the board, and a Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) grounder to second base cut the deficit to one.

McGrath retired the side in order in the eighth, giving Brandeis a chance to rally. Rookie 3B Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) worked a walk to lead off the inning, Hoey's first of the game. After junior outfielder Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore J.F.K.) bunted him to third, junior Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx H.S. of Science) came up as a pinch hitter and struck a solid single to center field to tie the game at 3-3.

Senior Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) then coaxed another walk, putting runners at first and second with one away. RIC coach Scott Virgulak summoned junior righty Mike DeWald (Hope Valley, R.I./Charico) from the bullpen. DeWald got Cortese to ground out to first base, but the runners moved up to second and third. That brought up senior 1B Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole), who hit a solid line drive to right to bring home the game-winning runs.

In the top of the ninth, McGrath did all the work himself. He fielded a comebacker to the mound for the first out, and struck out the final two batters of the game looking.

The contest featured no multiple hitters, while Nicholson's two-run single in the eighth made him the only player with multiple RBI. Rhode Island senior 2B Mike Giustino (Wappingers Falls, N.Y./Roy C. Ketchum) added a double to those of Corson and Rosenberg.

Brandeis returns to action Saturday afternoon at Wheaton (Mass.) College at 1 p.m. before returning for a doubleheader on Sunday against UMass Dartmouth at noon. Rhode Island College hosts UMass Boston in a Little East Conference twinbill Saturday at noon.