Baseball drops season opener to NAIA Warner, 5-3

Dan Gad '15 (photo by Kenny Gad)

BASEBALL DROPS SEASON OPENER TO NAIA WARNER, 5-3

LAKE WALES, Fla. – The Brandeis University baseball team came up just short against six different pitchers today in their season opener as the Judges fell, 5-3, at Warner University, an NAIA team in Florida.

Warner, which did not have any pitcher last more than two innings, was playing its 12th game of the season and improved to 8-4, compared to the Judges' first, as they fell to 0-1.

 The Judges had seven hits in their opener, paced by senior DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield), who was 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Gad's two-bagger came with two out in the first inning, and he advanced to third on an error, but could not score as the Royals' pitcher got out of the inning with a strikeout.

Warner opened the scoring in the second against rookie starter Anthony Nomakeo (Westfield, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon). Nomakeo got the first two outs of the inning before Warner loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Nomakeo induced a grounder to first, but the ball was booted allowing a run to score. The rookie avoided further trouble by striking out the Royals' three-hitter looking.

Brandeis took the lead in the top of the fourth. Rookie 3B Gregg Heineman (Wilbraham, Mass. / Minnechaug Reg.) walked to lead off the inning and junior 1B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) followed with a single through the right side. After they were bunted to second and third, senior co-captain and LF Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) produced a two-run single to put the Judges ahead.

Unfortunately, the lead wouldn't last for long, as Warner strung together four straight two-out hits against Nomakeo after the rookie hit a batter. The big blow was a tying double by senior LF Johnny Groubert, who came around to score the  go-ahead run a batter later. The Royals manufactured an unearned insurance run in the bottom of the sixth against reliever Liam Coughlin (Townsend, Mass. / Lowell Catholic). Senior 3B Justin Burgess led off with a double to left-center field, stole third and came home when the attempt to catch him sailed into the outfield.

That hit was the only one allowed in three innings of work combined by Coughlin, junior Elio Fernandez (Bronx, N.Y. / Fordham Prep) and rookie Justin Freeman (Chelmsford, Mass. / Brooks School). Brandeis got one run back in the top of the ninth, when Gad led off with a single, moved to second on a walk by Heineman and third on a fielder's choice. Sophomore catcher Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn. / Avon Old Farms) followed with his first RBI in a Brandeis uniform, putting runners on first and second with one out, but the Judges could not push across an equalizer.

Brandeis will be back in action tomorrow against Johnson University as part of their six-game trip to Florida to start the season.