Baseball drops a pair to Tufts in home opener

Luke Zeccola '18 (photo by by Tim Farrell)
Luke Zeccola '18 (photo by by Tim Farrell)

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University baseball team was unable to overcome visiting Tufts University in their home-opening doubleheader on Stein Diamond yesterday. The Judges (7-13) rallied but fell just short in the opener, 5-4, before suffering a 28-2 defeat in the second game against the Jumbos (15-4).

In the opener, Tufts scored the first five runs of the game before Brandeis rallied. The Jumbos scored three in the first, when Judge rookie Sean O'Neill (Reading, Mass./Reading Memorial) was called for a balk with runners on second and third. Two batters later, Tufts 3B Tommy O'Hara launched a two-run home run to right-center field.

Tufts added an unearned run in the third, when LF Cody McCallum singled to short and reached second when a low throw got away at first. O'Neill got the next two batters out before shortstop Matt Moser bounced one through the left side. O'Neill issued a walk before ending the inning with a strikeout. The Jumbos scored their last run in the top of the fourth when catcher Nick Barker led off with a homer to straight-away center field.

Jumbo junior Andrew David was in control on the hill through the first four innings. He retired the first 10 Judge hitters in a row before rookie SS Nick Falkson (Dedham, Mass./Thayer Acad.) singled through the left side. David struck out the next two Brandeis hitters to get out of the inning.

The Judges finally solved David in the fifth. Senior 1B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) doubled to right to lead off the inning, and sophomore 3B Greg Heineman (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) singled to put runners on the corners. Brandeis got on the board when sophomore LF Ryan Tettemer (Westfield, Mass./Suffield Acad.) blooped one to center, plating McCarthy.

Brandeis coach Pete Varney went to the bench for the next hitter, bringing out rookie Luke Zeccola (Garden City, N.J./Chaminade). Zeccola launched a 2-0 pitch from David over the left field fence for a three-run home run that cut the Brandeis deficit to 5-4. It was Zeccola's second pinch homer of the season and third overall. Tufts went to the bullpen, with Tom Ryan retiring the first two hitters he faced, while Zach Brown got six of the seven batters in the sixth and seventh to earn his first career save.

Tettemer was the Judges' only multiple hitter, going 2-3 with his RBI. O'Neill tossed a complete game, but fell to 3-2 on the season after allowing five runs (three earned). He struck out six and walked three, surrendering eight hits.

In the second game, Tufts sent three batters to the plate in the first inning, with a caught-stealing in the middle of frame. After that, the Jumbos bats exploded for 28 runs on 29 hits – including six home runs - against six Brandeis pitchers. The Jumbos batted around in the second and seventh innings and scored in each of the last six frames, getting at least three runs in all but the third. Shortstop Matt Moser was the offensive star for the visitors, going 5-for-5 with three home runs, four runs scored and eight RBI. He hit a solo shot in the fouth, a three-run blast in the fifth and a two-run homer in the sixth.

Brandeis had two multiple hitters, with McCarthy going 2-for3 with a double and both of the Judges' runs scored. Zeccola also went 2-for-3. Juniors Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn./Avon Old Farms) and Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) drove in the Brandeis runs.

With the two losses, Brandeis is still in search of career win #700 for head coach Pete Varney. They will face UMass Dartmouth on Monday at 3 p.m. in their next attempt.