March 21, 2012

Six-run 10th by Wentworth spoils baseball comeback

WALTHAM, Mass. – The  Brandeis baseball team rallied from a 5-2 deficit to force extra innings today, but visiting Wentworth took advantage of two Judge errors to plate six runs in the top of the 10th and emerge with an 11-6 non-conference victory on Stein Diamond.

Trailing by three runs after five-and-a-half innings, the Judges (5-12) scored in three of their last four at-bats in regulation to force the free baseball. WIT (8-8) scored three times in the top of sixth on an infield single by CF Paul Dassau (Franklin, Mass./Franklin), a Brandeis error and a sacrifice fly by LF Alex Wong (Lewiston, Maine/Lewiston). Brandeis started to cut into the lead with a sac fly of their own off the bat of rookie 3B Tommy McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School).

In the eighth, McCarthy hit a one-out single and scored three batters later on a hard-hit single to center by sophomore SS Dominic Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) to cut the Brandeis deficit to one. After sophomore Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) retired the Leopards in order in the top of the ninth, the Judges had a golden opportunity to win in the bottom of the frame, but did manage to force extras. Sophomore Pat Seaward (York, Maine/York) led off with a pinch single to right. Senior RF Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore JFK) bounced one up the middle, advancing junior pinch runner Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley) to second. A deep fly ball to center by rookie DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) allowed the runners to advance to second and third. WIT elected to  walk rookie catcher Josh King (Hudson, Mass./Hudson) to load the bases and set up the force by facing McCarthy.  His soft grounder to short was enough to plate Swerdloff with the tying run, even with the infield in, but the Leopards got the second out at third base. Brandeis loaded the bases again when rookie 2B Brett Allen (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic) was hit by a 1-1 pitch, but junior RF Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) grounded to second to end the inning.

Wentworth did not let up  against three different Brandeis pitchers in the top of the 10th. Senior 1B Kevin McKenzie (Arlington, Mass./Arlington) led off with an eight-pitch walk. After rookie Scott Oullette (Lewiston, Maine/Lewiston) bunted him to second, Dassau singled on a ball the just fell in front of the Brandeis centerfielder to put runners on the corners. Dassau then stole second, putting both Leopards in scoring position. Wong followed with a grounder to second against a drawn-in infield, but the ball was booted, preventing the Judges from getting an out and limiting the damage. WIT kept up the pressure, as Wong stole second and moved to third, while Dassau scored, when the ball sailed into the outfield. Four of the next five Wentworth batters produced RBI hits that helped push  the game out of reach, highlighted by a double from senior Justin Bolla (Groveland, Mass./Pentucket Regional).

Offensively, the game featured 29 hits and 11 multiple hitters. Allen for Brandeis (3-4, 2 RBI) and McKenzie for Wentworth (3-5, 2 RBI, 2 R) each had three-hit performances. Five separate players recorded multiple-RBI games: Bolla and Wong in addition to McKenzie for WIT and Allen and McCarthy for the Judges.

The two starting pitchers did fine jobs of keeping their teams in the game. Rookie Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian) went eight innings, making four of his five starts of seven innings or more this season. He gave up 11 hits and walked three, but limited the damage to five runs (three earned) thanks to five strikeouts. WIT's Adam Farrar (Newport, Vt./North Country Union) scattered eight hits over seven innings. He gave up three runs (two earned), fanning four and walking one. Despite a blown save, rookie Justin Voytek (New Milford, Conn./New Milford) improved to 2-1 on the season for Wentworth with two innings of relief, allowing five hits and two earned runs. Ing suffered the loss, surrendering four runs – but only one earned – in 1.2 innings of action.

Brandeis plays its first true road game tomorrow at Salve Regina University at 3:30 p.m. WIT opens its Commonwealth Coast Conference slate Thursday against Eastern Nazarene with a 2:00 doubleheader.