AUBURNDALE, Fla. – The Brandeis University baseball team played the middle two games of a four-game set against Augustana (Ill.) at the Russ Matt Invitational in Florida yesterday and dropped a pair. The Judges and Vikings were scheduled to play two nine-inning games on Tuesday and Wednesday, but inclement weather in the forecast pushed the teams into a doubleheader, with Augustana earning wins of 11-3 and 5-4.
In the opener, the Vikings scored three runs in the first two innings before Brandeis got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Senior SS Jay Schaff (Cheshire, Conn./Xavier) walked to lead of the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch and third on a passed ball, then scored in a Joshua Rakowski grounder. After AU scored twice in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead, Brandeis rookie catcher Dan O'Leary (Lynnfield, Mass./Lynnfield) plated classmate 2B Victor Oppenheimer (West Hills, Calif. / Chaminade), who singled with two outs and stole second.
Augustana blew things open with two runs in the eighth and four more in the ninth, with Schaff's infield grounder with an error in the bottom of the eighth producing Brandeis's final run.
Augustana outhit Brandeis, 15-4, en route to the 11-3 victory. The top two hitters in the AU lineup, Ryan Kairis and Jack Hallmark, combined to go 6-for-11 with three runs scored, five RBI and a triple (by Kairis). O'Leary paced Brandeis, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances with two singles and two walks. Zach Morgenstern earned the win on the hill for AU, going six innings and giving up two hits and two runs (one earned) and striking out 11. Brandeis senior Liam Coughlin (Townsend, Mass./Lowell Catholic) suffered the loss, going 4.1 innings and giving up eight hits and five earned runs.
In the second game, Augustana rallied for a 5-4 victory with their second walk-off of the series.
The Vikings opened the scoring in the third, when Kairis opened with a double and scored on Carter Amundsen's two-bagger one out later. They made it a 3-0 game on a two-run double by Tyler Nunez om the fourth.
The Judges responded in the top of the sixth with their biggest inning to date, sending nine runners to the plate and scoring four runs. After Brandeis put runner son the corners with two outs, senior DH Marvic Gomez (Providence, R.I. / Juanita Sanchez) singled to second to plate Schaff. Senior CF Ryan Tettemer (Westfield, Mass./Suffield Acad.) followed with a hit to left that brought home O'Leary and chased Augustana starter Brad Dubrow.
Senior Anthony Nomakeo (Westfield, Mass. / Northfield Mount Hermon) singled off of reliever Mike Powers to load the bases, and sophomore 1B Kyle Lussier (Hingham, Mass. / Hingham) went to left field yet again to drive in two and give the Judges a 4-3 lead. Powers got a strikeout to prevent any further damage.
AU got the tying run right back in the bottom of the sixth, as John Moraski reached on a leadoff bunch, moved to second and third on wild pitches and scored on a John Sagen hit to center. Nomakeo, who entered the game on the hill to start the inning, got a double play to end the game with the score tied at 4-4.
The next five half-innings did not see a hit, though errors and hit batters put runners on three times. In the bottom of the ninth, Augustana scored the winning run without benefit of a hit. After sophomore Daniel Schupper (Villanova, Pa./Harriton) retired the first two hitters on grounders, the hit the next two with pitches. The next AU batter was Peter Doughty, who reached on an error that allowed the winning run to cross the plate.
Schaff finished game two with two hits, as did Lussier. Moraski had two hits for Augustana, scoring two runs. Powers threw 3.1 inning s of two-hit ball to secure the win, while Schupper suffered the loss, the first of his career.
Brandeis and Augustana close out their four-game series Thursday at noon.