WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis baseball team dropped a pair of non-conference game to Colby College today, falling 13-11 in a slugfest in the opener and 7-1 in the second contest. With the losses, the Judges fall to 5-24 on the season, while the Mules even their record at 9-9.
In game one, Brandeis fell despite owning leads of 6-1 and 11-7. They scored in the first six innings, but their hard work was negated by a pair of big frames by the Colby, who scored five in the fifth to tie the game at 6-6, and six in the top of the seventh to turn a four-run deficit into the final 13-11 margin.
Brandeis was sparked offensively by senior Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore JFK), who went 3-for-4 with a career-high three doubles, three RBI and two runs scored. Malis's three two-baggers were one more than he had all season long entering the game. The Judges also got a pair of home runs. Graduate student DH Pat Nicholson (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) went deep to left-center with one aboard in the bottom of the first to give the hosts a 2-1 lead. It was his second homer of the season and the fourth of his career. Meanwhile, rookie 3B Rob Trenk (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) hit his first collegiate round-tripper in the fourth.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for the Judges, as Colby took advantage of four Brandeis errors to score six unearned runs and complete the comeback. The Mules' first rally came in the fifth and was highlighted by a game-tying grand slam by senior DH Devlin McConnell (Merion Station, Pa./Lower Merion).
Brandeis reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the frame with three runs on just one hit, a two-run double down the left field line by Malis, who came home two pitches later after a wild pitch and a grounder to second by rookie 3B Tommy McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School).
Colby got one back on an infield single by rookie RF Jason Buco (Methuen, Mass./Brooks School) in the sixth, but Brandeis's Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian) stroked a two-run double to deep center that plated two more in the bottom, making the score 11-7. The Judges could have gotten more with runners on second and third and none out, but a missed squeeze play, a comebacker to the mound and a grounder to short limited the damage.
In the top of the seventh, after the Mules put the first two runners on against sophomore Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich), Brenner came on to try to close the game out. After getting a lineout to left for the first out, Brenner got a perfect double play ball to short, but an error kept the inning alive. With the bases loaded and none out, pinch hitter Al Finigan (Milton, Mass./Belmont Hill) doubled down the left field line on the first pitch he saw to cut the lead to 11-9. Brenner traded a run for the second out of the inning, getting catcher John Schroeder (Glencoe, Ill/New Trier) to ground out to short, making the score 11-10. Senior LF Nik Atsalis (West Hyannis Port, Mass./Barnstable) fouled off three straight 1-2 pitches before singling to center field and tying the score. After Atsalis stole second and moved to third and Buco walked, putting runners on the corners, senior 1B Ryan Arndt (Yarmouth, Maine/Yarmouth) followed with a line drive to left that got over the head of the left fielder and scored the game-winning runs. Brandeis had two runners on with two out in the seventh on a single and a walk, but reliever Abhi Chandel (Columbus, N.J./Northern Burlington) got the save with a strikeout.
In the second game, sophomore Dakota Rabbitt (Rehoboth, Mass./Bishop Meehan) and Chandal combined to hold the Judges to six hits over seven innings as the Mules took a 7-1 victory. Rabbitt tossed 4.1 innings of one-run ball, allowing all six hits, striking out five and walking three to improve to 2-1. Chandal was terrific in relief, coming in with the bases loaded in the fifth inning and inducing an inning-ending double play. He struck out three of the six batters he faced in the sixth and seventh innings to earn his second save of the day.
Offensively, five different Mules drove in runs, with senior 2B Taro Gold (Belmont, Mass./Belmont) driving in two. Rookie CF Luke Dunkley (Augusta, Maine/Cony) went 4-for-5 with two stolen bases, an RBI and a run scored, while Gold had three hits and senior SS Brandon Nieuw (Port Chester, N.Y./Rye CDS) had two. Brandeis had two hits from Brenner, while Malis had the team's only RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Brandeis is back in action on Monday afternoon against UMass Dartmouth at 3 p.m., while Colby takes on Division I University of Maine Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Orono, Maine.