March 16, 2014

Judges close out UAA play with 4-1 loss to Emory

SANFORD, Fla. – The Brandeis University baseball team outhit Emory University, 9-7, today, but the Judges also gave up 10 walks and committed five errors as they lost to the Eagles, 4-1, on the final day of the University Athletic Association tournament. With the loss, the Judges are now 6-8 and finished 2-6 in the UAA, tied for fourth place with Rochester. Emory improved to 15-7 overall and shared the Association title with Case Western Reserve with a 6-2 record.

Each team had runners on base in the first three innings, with Brandeis junior starter Elio Fernandez (Bronx, N.Y./Fordham Prep) working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first in the biggest early threat of the contest. The Judges broke through in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with one out, but Emory's Hans Hansen limited the damage. Brandeis senior shortstop Dominic Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) plated junior 1B Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter Marian) with a sacrifice fly to left. Sophomore RF Max Hart (Montville, Conn./Montville) reached on an error to reload the bases, but Hansen got a fly out to center field to escape further damage.

Emory got the run back in the bottom of the frame when 3B Philip Maldari walked to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Maldari stole second as Fernandez got a strikeout. That allowed shortstop Jack Karras to single to his opposite number in the field and Maldari to score as the ball got away. The Eagles threatened again in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases on an error and two walks, but Brandeis rookie catcher Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn./Avon Old Farms) picked a runner off of second with two away to end the inning.

Emory scored twice in the sixth for the game-winning runs. Jordan Selbach, who was at the plate when the previous inning ended, came up and singled through the left side. Brandeis went to the bullpen for senior righty Colin Markel (Scarsdale, N.Y./Scarsdale), who retired the first batter he faced on  a sacrifice bunt, but EU center fielder Wes Peacock followed with an RBI double that was all the additional scoring the Eagles would need. After right fielder Brandon Hannon singled to put runners on the corners, Peacock scored when Hannon stole second and the throw down got away from the Brandeis infielders. The Eagles tacked on an unearned run in the seven on a pinch single by Chris Slivka. The Judges made a little bit of noise in the top of the ninth, when rookie Greg Heineman (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) and senior Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) singled to lead off the inning, but Emory's Robert Gross came on in relief to retire the side and earn the save.

Brandeis's 4-5-6 hitters – Brenner, Doyle and Heineman – each went 2-4 on the day, with Brenner scoring the Judges' only run. They accounted for six of the team's nine hits, but Brandeis couldn't find a way to get them home as Schwartz's sac fly accounted for the only RBI of the day. Fernandez suffered his second loss of the UAA tournament – to go with one save – despite a decent outing. He tossed five innings and allowed just two earned runs, giving up four hits, but also walking five Eagles. Markel was touched for two unearned runs in two innings, giving up three hits and two walks with a strikeout. Sophomore James Machado (Dracut, Mass./Dracut) walked three in an inning of work but escaped damage.

Hansen was the story for Emory, improving to 4-1 on the season, scattering nine hits over eight innings of work. He struck out six and walked just one, his first walk in 31 innings. Karras and Peacock were the only multiple hitters for EU, with Peacock's RBI double the only extra-base hit of the game. Maldari scored two of the Eagles' four runs.

Brandeis is slated to open its New England portion of the schedule at home on Tuesday, March 18, against Bridgewater State at 3 p.m.