WORCESTER, Mass. – Sophomore shortstop Mike Khoury (E. Bridgewater, Mass./E. Bridgewater) had a monster day, going 3-for-6 with three home runs and six RBI, including a key grand slam in the second game, as the Brandeis University baseball team split with Clark University today in Worcester. The Cougars won the opener, 20-3, but the Judges bounced back to take the second contest, 10-3. The Judges now stand at 5-2 on the season, while Clark is 6-4.
In the opener, Khoury was responsible for two of the three Brandeis runs and two of their six hits with solo home runs in the first and sixth innings. The Judge pitchers were unable to contain Clark, however, as the Cougars scored runs in every inning, including eight in the first and five in the second to cruise to s
Clark blasted five home runs, including a grand slam by catcher Steven Mooney in the first inning that blew things open. Other top hitters for Clark were leadoff man and right fielder Andrew Thibault, who went 4-5 with four runs scored and two RBI with a home run, and third baseman Andrea Casabianca, who had just one hit in four plate appearances – a three-run homer – but drew three walks and scored four times. In addition to their 18 hits in the opener, the Cougars also drew nine walks.
Cal Slepkow quieted the Brandeis bats that had scored 10 or more runs in their previous three games, allowing just five hits and three earned runs in six-plus innings of work. He fanned three and walked one to improve to 3-0 on the season. Junior Tim Lopez (Brooklyn, N.Y./East Side Community) shouldered the loss.
Brandeis turned the tables in the second game, scoring twice in the first and three more times in the fourth before Khoury's third blast of the day in the sixth inning gave the team some breathing room. A poor pick-off throw in the first allowed junior 2B Victor Oppenheimer (West Hills, Calif. / Chaminade) to score the first run of the game, while Khoury came home on a double by sophomore catcher Luke Hall (Georgetown, Mass./Georgetown). Clark got a run back in the second on a sacrifice fly by shortstop Dylan Horn, but rookie left fielder Connor Sheehan (Lincoln, R.I. / Lincoln) got a run back with an RBI single in the fourth, and Oppenheimer followed with a two-run double to make it 5-1, Brandeis. Clark's Thibault hit a two-run homer run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the Judge lead to 5-3, but Khoury's third homer of the day was his first career grand slam in the sixth inning that made it 9-3. Hall added an RBI single later in the sixth to give Brandeis a 10-3 lead. It marked the fourth time in the last five games the Judges scored 10 or more runs, a feat not achieved since 1999.
On the hill, Brandeis junior Albert Gutierrez (Miami, Fla. / Belen Jesuit Prep) made his first start of the season and picked up his second win. He tossed six innings and gave up seven hits. He struck out six and walked just two with one hit batter. Rookie Mark Maestri (Katonah, N.Y. / Somers) allowed one hit and struck out one in an effective seventh inning. Clark's Nick Guarino took the loss despite 5.2 innings of work.
Brandeis is back in action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. at the New England Baseball Complex in Northboro, Mass., when they take on Wentworth Institute of Technology.