March 13, 2012

Bats awaken, but baseball drops two on Day 3 of UAA tournament

SANFORD, Fla. -- The Brandeis baseball team dropped a pair of games at the University Athletic Association tournament today, falling to Rochester in their closest game of tournament, 6-5, and Emory, 11-7. With the losses, the Judges are 4-7 overall, 0-4 in the UAA.

In the opener against Rochester (1-3, 1-3 UAA), Brandeis got off to a hot start, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning, more than they had scored in their first two UAA games combined. The big blow of the frame was a two-run single from rookie DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield), while senior catcher Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) and sophomore 3B Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) also had RBI in the frame. 

Unfortunately, those were the last runs for the Judges until the ninth inning. In the interim, Rochester strung together three-straight two-run innings against junior starter Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington). The Yellowjackets got on the board in the third thanks to an errant pick-off attempt at second base and an RBI single by catcher Steve Pokallov. In the fourth, a sacrifice fly by 3B Chris Davis and a single by SS Tim Leseur tied the game at 4-4.

In the fifth inning, UR had a runner on second with two outs when Britton issued a walk to 1B Brian Bezek. Rookie reliever Brent Edmunds (No. Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet) allowed a tie-breaking double to CF Alex Caghan and thn uncorked a wild pitch that gave Rochester a key insurance run. 

The Judges had a chance to cut into the Rochester lead in the top of the sixth, when rookie LF Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian) singled and Ing doubled with one out. Rochester starter Jeremy Diller got out of trouble with a strikeout and fly to center. In the seventh and eighth, the Judges had two base-runners each, but a double play in the seventh and a groundout in the eighth stifled the rallies. They added an unearned run in the ninth thanks to an error on an infield groundout by grad student 1B Pat Nicholson (Walpole, Mass./Walpole), but it wasn't enough.

Brenner, Destremps, Ing and junior CF Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) each had two hits for the Judges. Britton suffered the loss in his first decision of the season, allowing seven hits and seven walks with three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work.

In their second game of the day, a rematch with Emory, Brandeis erased a 5-0 lead with another big inning, plating six runs in the fifth, but the Eagles answered with five in the top of the seventh to walk away with the 11-7 win.

Emory, which was boosted by the bottom of its line-up that saw 8 and 9 hitters Josh Bokor and Mark Lindemann go 4-for-6 with four RBI and four runs scored, saw three of their first five runs cross the plate unearned to take a large lead.

The Judges responded in the fifth, when Gad singled to center to lead off the inning. After Brenner was hit by a pitch and Ing coaxed a walk from Emory starter Matt McMahon, that brought up senior RF Zack Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore JFK). Malis clobbered his first home run of the season over the left field fence to cut the deficit to 5-4. The blast was the third of Malis's career and his first grand slam. 

Brandeis wasn't done, however, as rookie 3B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) singled to chase McMahon from the game. After senior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) greeted reliever Michael Byman with a single, Ferro tied the game with a sacrifice fly and Nicholson put the Judges ahead with a double to right-center field. 

The Judges avoided trouble in the sixth inning when junior Jesse Link (Weston, Conn./Weston) worked around a pair of walks, but they weren't as lucky in the seventh, when the Eagles sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs to reclaim a 10-5 lead. Bokor had the go-ahead RBI on a single off senior Alex Tynan (Barnegat, N.J./Barnegat). The teams traded runs, as Brenner had an RBI groundout in the bottom of the eighth, while EU scored on a double play in the top of the ninth to make the 11-7 final. 

Gad, McCarthy, Nichols and O'Hare all had multiple hits for the Judges. Malis's grand slam made him the only multi-RBI performer for the Judges. Link suffered the loss, giving up two hits, three walks and two earned runs in 2.1 innings to fall to 0-1 on the campaign.