WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University baseball team walked off with a dramatic 3-2 win over MIT on Stein Diamond today. Rookie Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) singled home senior Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) to make a winner out of senior lefty Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley). The Judges win their fifth in a row to improve to 15-20, while the Engineers fall to 22-9 on the season.
With the game tied, 2-2, and one away in the bottom of the ninth, Ferro launched a 2-2 pitch from MIT senior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kans./Blue Valley West) to deep left field. Off the bat it looked like it might clear the fence, but the wind kept it in the park for a double. That brought up O'Connor, who fouled off two of Zhu's offerings before stroking another ball to left. It was fielded cleanly, but Ferro beat a bouncing ball to the plate to give the Judges the victory.
Swerdloff was magnificent, tossing his fourth-straight complete game and second of nine innings to improve to 4-5 on the season. He allowed a career-low three hits, only one after the first inning, and two runs (one earned). After MIT scored without benefit of a hit in the third, Swerdloff retired 12 straight Engineers before issuing a walk with two out in the seventh. MIT's third hit of the game came with one away in the eighth, and Swerdloff followed by starting a 1-6-3 double play. In the top of the ninth, he struck out two batters on full counts, finishing the day with 117 pitches, 81 for strikes.
MIT scored the first two runs of the game, with sophomore SS Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill) at the center of both. Tew singled to lead off the game and scored two batters later on a bounding ball up the middle by sophomore RF Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif./Jssera Catholic). In the third, Tew drew a one-out walk, moved to second on a bunt and scored on ball struck by junior CF Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah/Brighton) that went through the first baseman's legs.
Brandeis finally got to MIT starter Nicholas Locascio (Naples, Fla./Community School of Naples) in the bottom of the third. Senior 3B Pat Seaward (York, Maine/York) singled to right and moved up to third on a pair of grounders to short. O'Connor followed with a seeing-eye single through the right side for his first RBI of the game.
The Judges had their chances to tie or take the lead, leaving runners on base in their next three at-bats before breaking through in the seventh. With Locascio out of the game, Brandeis senior Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) drew a five-pitch walk against rookie Michael Wymer (Flower Mound, Texas/Flower Mound). Ferro bunted Britton to second, and after Wymer retired O'Connor on a shallow pop to center, he uncorked two wild pitches, allowing Britton to cross the plate standing up. Zhu came on to strand two more Judges in the eighth inning, but Brandeis solved him with Ferro and O'Connor's heroics in the ninth.
Brandeis had three multiple hitters in the game: O'Connor, who was 2-5 with two RBI; junior DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) who was 3-4; and sophomore 2B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) who was 2-3. In addition to his double, the game's only extra-base hit, Ferro also had two sacrifice bunts. Tew was MIT's only multiple hitter, going 2-3 with two runs scored. Locascio went six inning, allowing only one run on eight hits, fanning two without a walk. Zhu fell to 1-3 with the loss.
Brandeis closes its regular season tomorrow afternoon against UMass Dartmouth at 3 p.m. MIT is at Rhode Island College tomorrow at 4 p.m.