WINTER HAVEN, Florida – The Brandeis University baseball team dropped a game in the final inning for the third time in their four-game set with the Augustana (Ill.) Vikings today. AU scored once in the ninth to tie the game and twice in the 10th inning to take a 4-2 decision. The Judges fall to 0-4, while the Vikings improve to 4-0.
Brandeis jumped on Augustana starter Connor Berek, as senior SS Jay Schaff (Cheshire, Conn./Xavier) doubled to lead off the game and scored two batters later on rookie RF Dan O'Leary's (Lynnfield, Mass. / Lynnfield) single to left.
AU tied the game in the top of the fifth on a Ryan Kairis RBI single, but the Judges responded right away in the bottom of the inning. Rookie 2B Victor Oppenheimer (West Hills, Calif. / Chaminade) led off with a single and moved to third on a botched pick-off attempt. After a walk put runners on the corners, senior CF Ryan Tettemer (Westfield, Mass./Suffield Acad.) singled Oppenheimer home. AU reliever Mike Powers came on and kept the Judges from increasing their lead.
Brandeis rookie starter Tim Lopez (Brooklyn, N.Y. / East Side Community) was terrific in his collegiate debut, keeping Augustana off the board in six of his seven innings. He scattered seven hits and struck out three while walking just one. Classmate Greg Tobin (Medway, Mass. / Catholic Memorial) held the Vikings down in the eighth inning, but they broke through in the top of the ninth. After Tobin struck out the first hitter, catcher Mitch Ruh was hit by a pitch. A single by Cayton Wallace put runners on the corners for pinch hitter John Sagen. Tobin got a come-backer to the mound but the Judges were unable to get the runner at the plate, settling for an out at first base and a tie score.
After Brandeis went in order in the bottom of the ninth, AU scored twice in the top of the 10th. Shortstop Tyler Nunez led off with a single to right off of Tobin, who was relieved after getting the first out on a sac bunt. Sophomore Daniel Schupper (Villanova, Pa./Harriton) gave up a bunt single to put runners on the corners, then hit a batter to load the bases. DH John Moraski followed with an infield single to put AU ahead. Though Schupper got a strikeout for the second out, he plunked another Viking to make it a two-run inning. Junior Bradley Bousquet (Athol, Mass./Athol) came on to get another strikeout and limit the damage.
The Judges had a chance to get back in the 10th, loading the bases with one out, but AU reliever Casey Weir induced a double play to end the game and earn the win.
The Judges had two multiple hitters in the game, Tettemer and sophomore Kyle Lussier (Hingham, Mass. / Hingham), who each had two hits. Cayton Wallace had three hits to lead the Vikings.
Brandeis returns to action on March 6 at UMass Boston. The Judges are scheduled to return home to Stein Diamond on March 11 against Bates.