Judges drop 5-3 decision to Framingham State in 10 innings

Brian Ing '14 (Photo by Sportspix)

WALTHAM, Mass. – For the second time this week, the Brandeis University baseball team rallied late to force extra innings, but for the second time, the visitors were able to bounce right back in the 10th inning, as the Judges fell to Framingham State University, 5-3, on Stein Diamond today.

The Rams (8-7) scored three runs in the second inning on five hits, with three Brandeis (5-14) throwing errors allowing advances. FSU got runs batted in from sophomore 1B Matt Roberge (Lowell, Mass./Lowell), senior LF Chris Cole (Lynn, Mass./Lynn English) and senior CF Chris Blydell (Lynn, Mass./Swampscott).

After the second inning, the game turned into a pitcher's duel between Brandeis grad student Pat Nicholson (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) and FSU senior Ryan Stoller (Milton, Mass./Milton). Nicholson allowed runners in every inning, but lasted through the ninth, getting out of trouble with a couple of double play balls in the fourth and seventh. He finished with two strikeouts and two walks to go with 12 hits and three runs (two earned).

Stoller, meanwhile, allowed just one Brandeis hit through six innings, as rookie 1B Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian) doubled to lead off the second but was stranded on third. Stoller retired 15 of the next 16 Brandeis hitters until sophomore DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) led off the seventh with a single but got erased on a double play. Stoller finished with 7.2 innings of four-hit ball, striking out four and walking two while allowing just one earned run.

Brandeis finally broke through against Stoller in the eighth. With one out, sophomore pinch hitter Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) coaxed a five-pitch walk. He moved up a base on a ground out and scored on a heads-up play, dashing home from second when senior CF Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore JFK) punched a ground ball to second base and beat the first baseman to the bag. After Judge rookie Pat Seaward (York, Maine/York) singled to put runners on the corners, just Brandeis's fourth hit of the game, FSU coach Brian Blumsack summoned rookie Patrick Murray (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) from the bullpen. Blumsack induced a grounder to second base by Gad to end the inning.

After Nicholson stranded a runner on second in the top of the ninth, Brandeis scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the frame to force extra innings. Senior catcher Kenny Destremps (Mashpee, Mass./Mashpee) stroked a one-out double to right field. That brought out Blumsack from the dugout once again, and sophomore Brendan Busa (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) took the hill. After Busa induced a grounder to third base for the second out, Brandeis rookie SS Brian Allen (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic, Mass.) hit a grounder to second base that was thrown away, allowing Destremps to score and putting the tying run in scoring position. Ing followed by lining a 1-1 pitch to left and knotting the game at 3-3.

The Judges just missed an opportunity to win the game in regulation, as Ing stole second. After Busa issued a walk to pinch hitter Rob Trenk (West Orange, N.J./West Orange), Malis fell behind 0-2 before lining a pitch down the right-field line that was just foul by a foot. Busa managed to finish the strikeout and force the extra frame.

In the 10th, sophomore 2B Ivan Colon (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) was hit by a pitch by Brenner, who came over from first base to relieve Nicholson. After Roberge bunted Colon to second and a passed ball got him to third, senior DH Pedro Acevedo (Fall River, Mass./New Britain) singled to right field to drive in what proved to be the winning run. Cole followed with an RBI single to center two batters later to add an insurance run. Brandeis had runners on the corners with two out in the bottom of the 10th, but Busa got the final out on a grounder to second to give the visitors the win.

Offensively, Brandeis had one multiple hitter, in Seaward, who was 2-for-5. Framingham State had three three-hit performances from Blydell (3-6, 2B, SB, RBI), Cole (3-5, R, RBI, SB) and rookie SS Cameron Couillard (No. Andover, Mass./No. Andover), who went 3-5. Colon and Acevedo had two hits each, while Colon scored two runs. Busa earned the win to improve to 2-1, while Brenner suffered the loss and dropped to 2-3 on the campaign.

Brandeis is right back in action tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. at Salem State University, while FSU returns to Stein Diamond on Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. to take on Lasell College.