WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Brandeis baseball team scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, capped by a bases-clearing double by senior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole), as the Judges defeated Rochester Institute of Technology, 6-5, in the final game of their February trip to Florida. With the win, the Judges return to Waltham with a record of 2-4, while the Tigers are 0-1 after dropping their opener.
Although only the RIT top of the third did not feature any bases runners in the first three innings, both squads failed to capitalize on their early chances. The Tigers hit into a 5-4-3 to end the top of the first, while both teams had a runner gunned down at the plate in the second. The Tigers broke through in the top of the fourth on an RBI groundout by 2B Ronnie Canestro and a two-out single by LF Tyler Ramotar.
Brandeis got one run back in the bottom of the fourth when junior 3B Kevin Barry (No. Andover, Mass./St. Johns Prep) beat out a double-play ball with the bases loaded. The Tigers added to their lead in the top of the fourth with a pair of extra-base hits driving in the runs. With two away and a runner on second, third baseman Walt Roman doubled and DH Brian Brazee tripled giving RIT a 4-1 lead.
Brandeis cut into the lead in the bottom of the seventh, when Ferro picked up his first RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly center, plating rookie CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon). The Judges had a chance to get even closer, getting two more hits, but RIT once again threw out a runner at the plate to end the frame. The Tigers then got the run back in the top of the eighth on an RBI double by catcher Greg Schworm, making it a 5-2 game.
In the bottom of the eight, sophomore SS Rob Trenk (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) singled and moved to second two batters later on a single by sophomore RF Zach Bardwell (No. Andover, Mass./Central Catholic). After RIT hurler Tyler Leichtenberg induced a second pop-out of the inning, O'Connor delivered a single to plate Trenk and cut the deficit to 5-3. Senior LF Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico) coaxed a walk to load the bases. That brought up Ferro, who laced a double that cleared the bases to put the Judges ahead, 6-5. After the Tigers got the final out, Brandeis sophomore Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter Marian) came on to retire three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to earn the save.
For the game, Brandeis pounded out 15 hits, one shy of their season high and double their output from any of the previous four contests. O'Connor led the way with three hits, while Bardwell, Brenner, Trenk and junior 2B Pat Seaward (York, Maine/York) each had two. Ferro had just one hit in five plate appearances, but had four RBI, a double and a sacrifice fly. Trenk and O'Connor each had two runs scored.
On the hill, senior Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) started went six innings and gave up nine hits and four earned runs and got a no-decision. Rookie Craig Rothenberg (White Plains, N.Y./Solomon Schechter) picked up the win in his first collegiate appearance, with two innings of three-hit ball, allowing one run.