Baseball drops 8-3 decision to Washington U. in UAA tournament

Liam O'Connor '16 (photo courtesy Kenny Gad)

SANFORD, Fla. – The Brandeis University baseball team suffered its second-straight loss at the 2014 University Athletic Association tournament today, falling to Washington University in St. Louis, 8-3, in Historic Sanford Park. The Judges outhit the Bears, 12-10, with eight of their nine starters collecting hits, but Brandeis stranded eight runners and hit into three double plays.

Brandeis (4-4, 0-2 UAA) trailed WashU (3-4, 2-1 UAA) by a 5-1 margin after six innings. The Bears  opened the scoring in the first inning on a Zack Kessinger one-out RBI double off of Judge junior Elio Fernandez (Bronx, N.Y./Fordham Prep). Fernandez averted further damage by cutting down a runner at the plate on a comebacker. Washington's CJ Price put the Bears ahead 2-0 with a sacrifice fly in the top of the third. The Judges had a chance to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth with three hits and a Bear error, but a double play and a runner thrown out at the plate kept WashU ahead by two.

In the top of the fifth, Bear 3B Chris Lowery, who walked in his first two plate appearances, hit the team's second sacrifice fly of the game to extend the lead to three. Brandeis finally broke through in the bottom of the frame, as rookie catcher Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn./Avon Old Farms) singled down the left field line to lead off and came home two batters later on a single up the middle by sophomore CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon). The Bears got a clutch hit in their next at-bat, when 2B Dylan Reid stroked a two-out single to center on the first pitch he saw, driving in two runs.

The Judges had two golden opportunities to get back in the game in the seventh and eighth innings, as both times the first three batters of the inning reached base. In the seventh, Brandeis loaded the bases to chase WashU starter Matt Tracy. Nick Gollin relieved and got a strikeout and induced two grounders to short, escaping with only one run allowed, on O'Connor's grounder. In the eighth, three straight singles, the last by junior infielder Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) singled in senior Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich). With runners on first and second, Brad Margolin came in for the Bears, and retired the side, doing the same in the ninth to pick up a save thanks to a game-ending double play. The Bears took advantage of Brandeis wildness in the top of that frame to score three runs on a bases-loaded walk to Price and a two-run, two-out double by Andrew Goldstick that produced the 8-3 final.

Four different Judges had multiple hits, with O'Connor going 2-5 with two RBI. McCarthy, Doyle and sophomore RF Max Hart (Montville, Conn./Montville) each went 2-4, with Hart picking up the team's only extra-base hit, a double. Price was the top hitter for the Bears, going 2-2 with two RBI, two walks, a sacrifice fly, a run scored and a double.

Fernandez suffered the loss for the Judges, going 6.1 innings, surrendering seven hits and five earned runs. He struck out two and walked four. Fernandez and his three relievers surrendered nine walks in addition to their 10 hits, with five of the free passes coming around to score.

Tracy went six innings to pick up his first win of the season, scattering eight hits to allow two earned runs. He struck out two and walked one, the only base-on-balls allowed by the Bears.

Both teams are back in action for one UAA game tomorrow, with Brandeis taking on Rochester at 2 p.m. and Washington facing Emory at 5 p.m. The Judges and Bears will meet again at 11 a.m. on Thursday.