March 14, 2014

Brenner goes the distance, but baseball falls to Rochester, 7-6

SANFORD, Fla. — The Brandeis University baseball team got a complete-game effort from junior Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian), but the Judges were unable to come all the way back from a four-run deficit as they dropped a 7-6 decision to the University of Rochester at the 2014 University Athletic Association tournament. With the loss, Brandeis falls to 6-7 overall, 2-5 in the UAA. Rochester is now 2-5 overall and in the conference.

      Brenner tossed his ninth career complete game and second of the season, throwing 101 pitches, 82 for strikes. He struck out six and did not walk a batter, but he surrendered 15 hits and seven earned runs to fall to 1-1 on the season.

      Brandeis took a brief lead in the bottom of the first on an unearned run. Rookie catcher Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn./Avon Old Farms) made Rochester starter Michael Mondon pay after the Yellowjackets committed a two-out error, singling through the left side to plate sophomore CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon). Rochester claimed the lead in the top of the third on a two-out, two-run single by 2B Ethan Sander, who had committed the miscue in the first inning.

      The Judges got a two-out RBI of their own in the bottom of the fourth, when junior 2B Brian Allen (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic) executed a perfect hit-and-run with runners on the corners to bring home senior SS Dominic Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) to knot the game at 2-2.

      UR went ahead for good in the top of the fifth inning. After a lead-off single and a fly out to right, five straight Yellowjackets reached safely on four singles and an error. The big blow was a two-run single down the left field line by 1B Brendan Gary that made it a 6-2 game. Brenner got out of the inning after an interference call and a fly out to left.

      The Judges had runners in the fifth and sixth innings, but weren't able to break through for another run until the seventh. Junior 1B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) hit a sacrifice fly, plating O'Connor, who walked and moved to third on an error. Rochester added a key insurance run in their next at-bat, as Sam Steele led off the frame with a double, the first extra-base hit of the game. Two batters later, Nate Mulberg singled through the left side for an RBI to give the 'Jackets a 7-3 lead.

      Brandeis did not go quietly in the ninth, taking advantage of two UR errors. The first allowed O'Connor to reach to lead off the inning. After sophomore 3B Rob Trenk (West Orange, N.J./West Orange) singled on a hit-and-run, Rochester pitcher Grant Petito followed by getting the first out of the inning. McCarthy followed with Brandeis's first extra-base hit, a double to right-center, plating O'Connor and leaving two runners in scoring position and chasing Petito in favor of Evan Janifer. His first batter was Doyle, who hit a grounder to third, but the throw pulled the first-baseman off the bag, allowing Trenk to score. Rookie pinch hitter Cameron Shaw (E. Setauket, N.Y./Ward Melville) plated McCarthy with an RBI to left with his second hit of the season to get Brandeis within one, but Janifer got a strikeout and grounder to first to close out the save.

      Offensively, the Judges were led by McCarthy and Doyle, who had identical stat lines of 2-4 with two RBI and a run scored. McCarthy added a double and sacrifice fly, while Doyle had a walk mixed in. Schwartz also had two hits on the day.

      For Rochester, Ethan Sander, Sam Steele and Nate Mulberg all had three hits. Steele scored three of the team's seven runs. Mondon pitched seven innings and allowed eight hits and three runs (one earned). He struck out six and walked two to earn his first win of the season. Janifer's save was his first of the campaign as well.

      Brandeis has a day off before closing out UAA play against Emory on Sunday at 10 a.m.