Baseball suffers heartbreaker to Worcester State, 10-8, in 10 innings

Eric Rosenberg '11 (photo by Sportspix)

WALTHAM, Mass. –  The Brandeis baseball team suffered a heartbreaking 10-8 loss in 10 innings to visiting Worcester State University today. The Judges rallied to tie the game with two out in the bottom of the ninth on a home run by senior 1B Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills), only to see Lancer senior DH Corey McDonald (Hudson, Mass./Hudson) hit his second home run of the game in the top of the 10th inning to provide the game-winning run. With the loss, the Judges fall to 17-12, while the Lancers improve to 12-9 with the victory.

Brandeis scored their eight runs on just eight hits, but played a lot of small-ball. The Judges drew seven walks, had two men hit by pitches, executed three sacrifice bunts and stole five bases without getting caught. Junior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) was the only multiple hitter for Brandeis, going 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and a steal. Rookie 3B Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) had a double, while sophomore catcher Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) and Rosenberg each went deep for the Judges.

McDonald paced a Worcester State offensive attack that knocked out 17 hits and four home runs. He finished the day going 4-for-5 with his two blasts, an intentional walk, four runs scored and two stolen bases. McDonald is now hitting .507 for the season (36-71). Sophomore CF Chris Creen (Worcester, Mass./St. Johns Prep) had a game-high five hits for the Lancers, while senior 1B Nick Fluegge (Ware, Mass./Ware) and junior 3B Tyler McElman also went deep for the visitors.

Worcester State got out of the gates quickly with three runs in the top of the first off of Brandeis senior starter John McGrath (New York, N.Y./Trevor Day School). McDonald led off the game with his second home run of the season, and McElman followed three batters later with a two-run shot. The Lancers got two more base runners in the first on a Creen single and an error, but McGrath got out of it and settled down. Though he allowed baserunners in each of his next five innings, McGrath only allowed two more runners past first base.

Meanwhile the Judges climbed back into the game with three two-run innings. In the second, Ing doubled with none out to plate Destremps and O'Hare, who had reached on an error and singled, respectively. The Judges bunted Ing to third, but a line-drive double play ended the frame with WSU maintaining their one-run lead, 3-2.

In the fifth, senior CF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) drove in the game-tying run on a single to center, while a successful squeeze bunt by sophomore DH Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) gave Brandeis a 4-3 lead. They extended it to 6-3 in the sixth inning, when Destremps led off with his first collegiate home run to deep left center field. Three more singles by the Judges loaded the bases, but aggressive base-running cost them. Rookie SS Dom Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) attempted another squeeze bunt. While O'Hare scored safely, Ing tried to score from second base after the throw went to first and was gunned down at the plate.

Brandeis led, 6-3, headed into the seventh, when they caught a bad break, as Brandeis coach Pete Varney was forced to pull McGrath because of a possible injury. Worcester State took advantage of seeing new hurler. McDonald singled and sophomore 2B Nick Gezotis (Westfield, Mass./Westfield) walked against Brandeis rookie Colin Markel (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale), the only two batters he faced. Varney then went to junior lefty Alex Tynan (Barnegat, N.J./Barnegat), but Fluegge took the second pitch Tynan through deep to left field, knotting the game at 6-6. The Lancers added two more bunt singles before Tynan got out of the inning.

In the eighth, WSU retook the lead. After a single by sophomore RF Adam Metzger (Northampton, Mass./Northampton), a bunt and an intentional walk to McDonald, Gezotis singled to center on a 1-2 count against Tynan to give the Lancers the lead. Varney called on sophomore Jesse Link (Weston, Conn./Weston), who retired the first batter he faced, but hit a batter to lead the bases and the gave up an infield single to score another run and give the visitors a two-run cushion, 8-6.

WSU closer Shaun Slattery (Gardner, Mass./Gardner) came on in the eighth inning, and after issuing a leadoff walk, struck out the side. After a 1-2-3 top of the ninth, Slattery retired the first two batters he faced. He then walked Ferro on four pitches, setting up Rosenberg's heroics. The senior worked the count to 3-1 before blasting a pitch to left-center field for his fourth career circuit clout. The runs were the first earned runs allowed by Slattery in 17-and-a-third innings this season.

The Judges got two more runners in scoring position when Destremps was hit by a pitch and O'Hare walked. A wild pitch and a stolen base put them on second and third before Slattery got out of it with a strikeout to force extra innings.

McDonald then put the Lancers ahead in the top of the 10th with his second bomb of the game on a 2-1 pitch, going deep to left field. The visitors tacked on an insurance run on a McElman double and Creen single, both to right field. Though the Judges put two runners on via a walk and an error in the bottom of the 10th, Slattery got his fifth strikeout of the outing to end the game.

Brandeis is next in action Thursday against Johnson and Wales University at 3:30 p.m., while Worcester State takes on Nichols College at the same time at Assumption College.