Judges sweep UMass Dartmouth, 3-2 and 14-7

Pat Nicholson '11 (Photo by Joe Burns)
Pat Nicholson '11 (Photo by Joe Burns)

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University baseball team won one pitching duel and one slugfest today as the Judges swept visiting UMass Dartmouth, 3-2 and 14-7. Brandeis improves to 17-11 on the season, while UMass Dartmouth drops to 8-12.

In game one's pitcher's duel, the Judges topped the Corsairs, 3-2, in the bottom of the seventh inning after surrendering the lead in the top of the frame. 

After three scoreless innings, UMD got on the board first with a run in the top of the fourth.  With runners on second and first, junior 3B John Granahan (Hanover, Mass./Hanover) hit an RBI single up the middle to bring in sophomore DH Ryan Levesque (Northbridge, Mass./Mount St. Charles Acad.).

In the bottom of the fourth, Brandeis came back with two runs of their own to take the lead.  Senior 1B/pitcher Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole) doubled to left field to lead off the inning.  Junior catcher Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) singled to center field to plate Nicholson, advancing to second on the play. A pair of hustle plays plated the go-ahead run, as junior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) beat out a ball booted at second base while Destremps never stopped running from second base on the play, giving the Judges a 2-1 lead.

Brandeis had a chance to add to their lead in the sixth, loading the bases with none out, but Corsair sophomore Aaron Brunette (No. Andover, Mass./No. Andover) induced two grounders with the infield pulled in that resulted in force plays at home. A two-out pop-up kept his team within striking distance.

The Corsairs took advantage of the Judges' squander in the top of the seventh. Nicholson hit junior 1B Anthony Fiorita (No. Reading, Mass./Mount St. Charles Acad.) to open the frame. After Fiorita advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and another ground out, senior SS Ryan McDermott (Pembroke, Mass./Pembroke) hit an RBI single to center field to extend the game.

Brandeis was not to be denied, however. Senior CF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence, Acad.) singled to right field, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) and reaching third on a passed ball. Nicholson singled to second base to plate the game winning run.

Nicholson was 2-for-4 in the game with two RBI and the only extra-base hit of the game. Destremps  and Deshler were the only other Judges with multiple hits, with two a piece.  On the mound, Nicholson (2-1) picked up the win, pitching two innings of relief, allowing just three hits and one run. Sophomore Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) tossed five innings of four-hit ball and allowed just one run, but did not figure in the decision.

For the Corsairs, Granahan led the way, going 3-for-3 with an RBI, while McDermott had two hits and an RBI.  Brunette suffered the loss, tossing a complete game, allowing eight hits and three runs, only one of which was earned,  with four strike outs.

The second game was an entirely different affair, with the teams combining for nine runs and 11 hits in the first inning alone. The Judges went on to score in every one of their at-bats but one in taking the 14-7 win. The Brandeis defense factored into the victory as well, as the Judges turned five double plays in seven innings, one shy of an NCAA Division III record.

UMass Dartmouth roughed up Brandeis rookie righty Colin Markel (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale), as five of the first six Corsair batters had hits, producing three runs. Senior catcher Zac Talis (Lynnfield, Mass./Lynnfield), Granahan and sophomore 1B Matt Worden (New Bedford, Mass./New Bedford) each singled to drive in a run, with Worden knocking Markel out of the game. Sophomore lefty Stefan Weiss (Jericho, N.Y./Jericho) came on and issued a walk to the first batter he faced to load the bases, but got his second batter to line first for an unassisted double play, dodging further trouble.

The Judges answered right back in the bottom of the first, sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six of them. A two-run single by O'Hare tied the game at 3-3, while rookie 3B Brian Ing's (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) RBI single put the Judges ahead. Rookie SS Dom Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) followed with a two-run double to left field, and the rout was on as Brandeis took a 6-3 lead after one inning.

Weiss settled down, and though he allowed base runners in each of his innings, the five double plays helped keep the Corsairs from gaining any traction. Brandeis's twin-killings included the unassisted line drive in the first, a 4-6-3 in the second and fifth, 1-4-3 in the fourth, and 6-4-3 in the seventh.

Meanwhile, every Brandeis starter had at least one hit in the game, with six turning in multiple-hit performances. Cortese, Ferro and Destremps each had three hits, while O'Hare had Brandeis's third four-RBI performance of the season. He also had a tremendous diving catch to end the sixth inning in addition to his part in four of the DPs. Schwartz, Ferro and junior DH Jon Chu (Hollis Hills, N.Y./Bronx H.S. of Science) each had two RBI in the game. Weiss picked up the win, the first of his collegiate career, throwing 5.1 innings and allowing seven hits and four runs.

UMass Dartmouth had a pair of impressive performances at the plate, as McDermott and Worden each had hits in each of their plate appearances. McDermott went 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored out of the leadoff hole, while Worden was 3-for-3 with three RBI and a run batting sixth. Both players hit two-run home runs off of Weiss in the Corsairs' four-run sixth inning. It was McDermott's first of the season and Worden's second. Senior Kyle Merrill (Dennis, Mass./Dennis-Yarmouth) gave up six runs on six hits in the first inning to suffer the loss for UMD.

Brandeis returns to action Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. against Worcester State University, while UMass Dartmouth is at Rhode Island College at the same time in a Little East Conference showdown.