Baseball clinches winning season with 4-3 rally past Endicott

Sean O'Hare '13 (Photo by Sportspix)

WALTHAM, Mass. –  The Brandeis University baseball team scored four runs in their last two at-bats today to rally past visiting Endicott College, 4-3, on Stein Diamond. With the win, the Judges improve to 22-13 and clinch their first winning season since 2006, while Endicott falls to 24-12 on the campaign.

After collecting just four hits over the first six innings against EC sophomore Kevin Dupras (Belchertown, Mass./Belchertown), Brandeis trailed, 3-0, headed into the bottom of the seventh. In the seventh, however, the Judges tied the game four batters in. Senior 1B Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) led off with a double over the right fielder's head, followed by a single to short by sophomore catcher Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee). Junior shortstop Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) then knocked a 2-2 offering from Dupras that kicked up chalk down the right-field line, giving him a two-run triple.

Endicott coach Bryan Haley, a 1999 Brandeis graduate, then summoned rookie Steven Carter (Brunswick, Maine/Brunswick). Carter's first pitch to Brandeis rookie Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) bounced in front of the plate, allowing O'Hare to dash home with the tying run.

After three different Brandeis pitchers retired the side in the top of the eighth inning, the Judges used small-ball to score the winning run. Sophomore LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) led off with a single on a ball knocked down by the shortstop. Cortese stole second and was bunted to third by senior Pat Nicholson (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole). That brought up sophomore RF Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole), who executed a perfect suicide squeeze to first on a 1-1 pitch, producing the game-winning run.

The top of the ninth was not without drama, as Ing came over from third base to close out the game. He got two ground outs before giving up a single to EC junior catcher Robbie Goldstick (Deerfield, Ill./Deerfield). Rookie pinch runner E.J. Martinez (Brooklyn, N.Y./Poly Prep) then stole second.

With the runner in scoring position, Ing engaged in an epic battle with Gull junior 2B Danny Mello (Peabody, Mass./Peabody). After Ing got the count to 1-1, Mello fouled off eight straight pitches. He saw another ball on the 10th pitch of the at-bat before another foul ball went straight up in front of the Brandeis dugout, where Destremps caught it to end the game.

Endicott jumped out to their lead with single runs in three of the first five innings. Sophomore DH Eric Lemke (Southington, Conn./Southington) singled home senior  3B Christopher Dominguez (Braintree, Mass./Braintree), who had doubled, to open the scoring in the first. Goldstick scored a pair of unearned runs, coming home on a Mello sac fly in the third and a Dominguez infield grounder in the fifth.

Brandeis sophomore lefty Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley) had a no-decision after going six innings. He allowed eight hits and three runs, only one of which was earned, striking out two and walking none. Rookie Colin Markel (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale) needed just four pitches to retire two hitters and pick up his second career win in relief, while Ing earned his second save of the season. With the win, Brandeis improves to 6-2 in one-run games and 11-4 in games decided by two runs or fewer.

Dupras allowed seven hits and three earned runs in six innings for Endicott, while Carter suffered his first loss against three victories. Carter allowed just one hit in two innings of work.

At the plate, there were two three-hit games, one for each team, as Lemke for Endicott and Cortese for Brandeis were each 3-for-4 with a run scored. Nicholson also had two hits for Brandeis, while Dominguez and Goldstick each had two for the Gulls. Cortese, Dominguez and Rosenberg each doubled, while O'Hare's extra-base hit was the key triple in the seventh.

Brandeis is back in action tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Bowdoin College, as they take on their second-straight alumnus coach in Mike Connolly '94, while Endicott hosts Westfield State Thursday at 4 p.m.

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