February 20, 2012

Baseball opens season with 7-3 win over NAIA Warner

LAKE GEORGE, Fla. – The Brandeis University baseball team scored seven runs in the first two innings and held host Warner University off the board until the seventh as the Judges defeated the Royals, 7-3, in the opener of a five-game road trip to Florida yesterday.

Brandeis (1-0) took advantage of wildness from Warner (5-9) starter Cole Wheelis to score four runs on just two hits in the first inning. With one away, junior LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) and grad student 1B Pat Nicholson (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) singled. After junior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) walked to load the bases, Cortese scored on a wild pitch to open the scoring and rookie DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) walked to reload the bases. Rookie RF Zach Bardwell (North Andover, Mass./Central Catholic) was hit by a pitch to plate Nicholson for the inning's only RBI, while Ferro and Gad scored on two more wild pitches.

The Judges added three more runs in the second on RBI singles by Nicholson and Ferro, the last driving Wheelis from the game. Reliever James Krupa allowed one inherited runner to score on a passed ball. Krupa got out of the frame and allowed just two hits over the next 2.2 innings, stranding runners on first and second in the third. The Warner staff settled down after that, allowing just two base-runners the rest of the way.

The Brandeis pitching staff was effective in keeping the Royals off the board, despite allowing baserunners in every inning but the first, as the hosts stranded 12 runners on the afternoon. Sophomore Colin Markel (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale) earned the win, going 3.1 innings and allowing four hits and one walk. It was his third win of the season. Junior Jesse Link (Weston, Conn./Weston) gave up two hits in an inning of work, while sophomore Andrew Weissenberg (Demarest, N.J./Northern Valley Regional) worked around three walks in his inning-and-two-thirds.

Warner, an NAIA institution, finally broke through in the seventh inning against rookie Brent Edmunds (North Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet), when shortstop Sergio Perez crossed the plate in a successful double steal with DH Herb Sickler. Pinch hitter Dylan Gross picked up the Royals' only RBI on a single in the ninth inning, with the final run coming home on an error, before Bardwell closed the game out on a grounder to second.

Brandeis picked up the win without benefit of an extra-base hit. The top four hitters in the lineup went 6-for-18, with Nicholson and Ferro picking up two hits each. Ferro also had a stolen base.

The Judges continue their February break trip at the Matt Russ Tournament in Orlando with back-to-back games against Augustana (Ill.) on Wednesday and Thursday.