May 1, 2011

Baseball falls to Trinity twice, 5-2 and 4-3, in final home games

WALTHAM, Mass. –  The Brandeis University baseball team suffered a pair of close  losses today at the hands of Trinity (Conn.) College in the Judges' regular-season home finale. The Bantams took the opener, 5-2, and won game two, 4-3. Brandeis falls to 24-17 on the season, while Trinity improves to 20-14.

In game one, Trinity struck for two runs in the top of the first on three singles. Sophomore DH Marc Crowley (Andover, Mass./Central Catholic) opened the scoring with a base knock to center that plated one run, while a misplay in the field allowed the second run to score.

Brandeis tied the game with single runs in the second and third innings. Rookie 3B Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) hit a sacrifice fly to left field with the bases loaded to get the Judges on the board in the second. They could have done more damage, but Trinity threw out a runner rounding second on the play. Brandeis scored without a hit in the third, when senior CF Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrence Acad.) reached on a dropped third strike. He moved to second on a walk to sophomore LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico). A wild pitch put the two runners in scoring position and senior 1B Pat Nicholson's (E. Walpole, Mass./Walpole) grounder to first knotted the game at 2-2.

The Bantams scored the game-winning runs in the fourth inning on a two-out, two-run single by senior LF Mark Young (Chester, N.J./Pope John XXIII). They added an insurance run in the third when junior CF David Casanova fouled off four pitches before drawing a two-out walk. He went from first to third on a single by sophomore 2B Bryan Ginsburg (Westwood, Mass./Rivers School) and scored on an overthrow trying to catch him at third.

Brandeis had an opportunity to get runs back in the bottom of the fifth, when rookie SS Dom Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) singled to lead off the inning and Nicholson laced a double down the line three batters later. Trinity coach Bill Decker went to the bullpen for sophomore closer Ben Goldberg (Plainview, N.Y./Plainview-Old Bethpage JFK), who got a strikeout to end the threat, and the Judges had just one base-runner the rest of the way.

Trinity had 12 hits in the opener, including four multiple hitters. Ginsberg led the way, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and a double, the Bantams only extra-base hit. Young, Crowley and junior 3B Alex Lidonni (Norwood, Mass./Salisbury (Conn.)) each had two hits. Rookie Ryan Carr (Cos Cob, Conn./Greenwich) improved to 3-4 on the season, holding the Judges to four hits in 4.2 innings. He struck out three and walked two with a hit batter. Goldberg earned his fourth save of the season by retiring seven of the eight batters he faced with two Ks.

For the Judges in game one, sophomore Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley) tossed his second complete game of the season, but suffered the loss to fall to 4-4. He struck out seven and walked three (one intentional), allowing five runs (three earned) on 12 hits. At the plate, Nicholson's double was the only extra-base hit for Brandeis.

In game two, Brandeis used six different pitchers, starting with senior Rafi Stern (Jerusalem, Israel/Makor Chaim), who walked a batter but retired the side on three fly outs to center. The Judges then jumped on Bantam sophomore D.J. Goldberg (Plainville, Mass./Worcester Acad.) for three runs in the bottom of the first. Senior RF Eric Rosenberg (Oakland, N.J./Indian Hills) singled home the first run to open the scoring. Three batters later, with the bases loaded, junior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) doubled to right field, plating two more runs, but the Bantams cut down a potential fourth run at the plate.

Trinity got one run back in the top of the second when sophomore 1B Chris Kelly (Bethesda, Md./Walt Whitman) homered to deep left field. It was his second round-tripper of the season.

After Brandeis stranded two runners in the bottom of the second, the Bantams scored three in the third to take a 4-3 lead. After sophomore LF Michael Rueger (Teaneck, N.J./Teaneck) doubled to lead off the frame, Young drew a four-pitch walk. They both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, allowing Liddoni to cut the Brandeis lead to 3-2 on a sacrifice fly. Young then came home on a passed ball, tying the score at 3-3.

Trinity junior catcher Kevin Mortimer (Spencer, Mass./Worcester Acad.) worked another walk and stole second. After fouling off a couple of 3-2 pitches, Kelly then singled to right to plate what would prove to be the winning run and moved to second on an error.

Casanova followed and hit a hot shot to third base. He was initially called out by the field umpire. The call was eventually overruled by the home plate umpire, and Brandeis head coach Pete Varney was ejected for arguing the reversal. After Brandeis sophomore lefty Stefan Weiss (Jericho, N.Y./Jericho) issued another walk to load the bases, he rallied to get a strikeout and line out to escape further damage.

Brandeis had a chance to even the game in the bottom of the third against Goldberg when they loaded the bases with one out on a hit batter and back-to-back singled. The sophomore bared down and struck out the next two batters on seven pitches with some effective curveballs. Goldberg settled down and retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced over the final four innings. While the Bantams had baserunners in each of their final four at bats, the Brandeis bullpen was able to wriggle free each time.

Each team had two multiple hitters. Brandeis was paced by O'Hare, who was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI, and Cortese, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored. For Trinity, Kelly was 2-for-4 with two RBI, a run scored and a homer, while sophomore SS Stephen Howard (Cheshire, Conn./Cheshire) was 2-for-4 as well.

Goldberg improved to 3-1 on the season by scattering seven hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking just one. He also hit two batters. Weiss suffered the loss, allowing three runs on just one hit and two walks in an inning of work.

 Brandeis will close out its regular season on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Amherst College, while Trinity takes on NESCAC foe Wesleyan University next Saturday in a noon doubleheader.