February 22, 2012

Baseball splits first DIII games of season against Augustana (Ill.)

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Brandeis baseball team split its first two games against Division III opponents today, as the Judges fell to Augustana (Ill.) College, 12-0, in the first game of a doubleheader, but rallied for a 3-1 win in the second contest, behind rookie Kyle Brenner's (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter Marian) complete game nine-hitter in his first collegiate start. The Judges improve to 2-1 overall on the season, while the Vikings are 1-1. 

Brenner struck out three and walked two in his Brandeis debut. He worked out of trouble in the first, getting out of a bases-loaded, one-out with a pop out and grounder to second. Augustana scored on a double and a single to start the second inning, but Brenner got pickoffs in the second and third to help keep the Vikings at bay. He retired the side in the fourth and fifth innings, while stranding one runner each in the sixth and seventh to go the distance.

After falling behind in the top of the second, the Judges answered in the bottom of the frame. Junior CF Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) led off with a single and scored two batters later on a base hit by rookie DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield). Ferro also produced the game-winning run in the third inning. Senior 2B Sean O'Hare (Southampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional) led off with a single and stole second. Viking junior Ben Heaton (Heyworth, Ill.) got the next two batters on a pop-up to third and a fly ball to center, but Ferro responded with what proved to be the game-winning hit. Brandeis added an insurance run in the fourth inning when rookie RF Zach Bardwell (No. Andover, Mass./Central Catholic) singled, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. Junior SS Dom Schwartz (San Fransisco, Cal./Lowell) executed a succesful squeeze play for the Judges' third run. Ferro, O'Hare and Bardwell all finished with two hits for the game.  

In the opener, the Vikings scored in every inning but one, jumping out to a 7-0 lead after two innings against Brandeis starting lefty Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley), who suffered the loss. The top two hitters in the Augie lineup, junior SS Jeremy Juhl (Lombard, Ill.) and junior 2B Kurt Schmidt  (Grayslake, Ill.) each went 2-for-3 with three runs scored, while senior RF Kevin Serna (Arlington Heights, Ill.) was 3-for-3 with two doubles, two RBI and two runs scored. Senior Mike Trotta (Chicago, Ill.) tossed a complete-game four-hitter. O'Hare was the only Brandeis batter with hits in both games, going 3-for-6 with a stolen base and run scored on the afternoon.