Swerdloff gem carries Judges past Roger Williams, 3-1

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University junior lefty Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley) tossed a complete-game six-hitter today to lead the Judges past visiting Roger Williams University, 3-1, in non-conference baseball action on Stein Diamond today. With the win, the Judges improve to 7-28 on the campaign, while the Hawks fall to 10-22.

Swerdloff's complete-game performance was his second of the season, the fifth of his career and his first in a nine-inning game. He struck out eight opposing batters, the second-highest total of his career and three shy of his collegiate best. He threw 115 pitches on the afternoon, 87 for strikes. Swerdloff allowed just two base-runners between the third and seventh innings and improved to 2-4 on the season.

The Judges got all the scoring they would need in the fifth inning with only one ball leaving the infield. Rookie 2B Tom McCarthy (Bronx, N.Y./Fieldston School) hit a dribbler back to the mound that he legged out to lead off the frame. Roger Williams sophomore Ryan Motta (Dighton, Mass./Dighton-Rehoboth) hit Brandeis senior CF Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore JFK) with a pitch to put the first two men on. With the runners in motion, sophomore LF Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) moved them into scoring position by fighting off a 1-2 pitch with a grounder to second.

Rookie SS Brian Allen (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic) followed with a ball up the middle that Motta deflected, allowing it to get past his middle infielders and score McCarthy with the first run of the contest. Rookie RF Zach Bardwell (No. Andover, Mass./Central Catholic), a high school teammate of Allen's, followed with a grounder to second base that was knocked down but not fielded cleanly, plating what proved to be the game-winning run. Motta was able to escape further damage with another grounder to second and a strikeout to end the inning.

The Judges added an insurance run in the seventh, when McCarthy led off with a single up the middle. After he stole second, Ing doubled to left field to make the score 3-0.

RWU broke through against Swerdloff in the top of the eighth. Senior CF Chris Comeau (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) led off with a hit to center field, turning it into a double with aggressive base-running. Comeau moved to third on a ground out to second, and Swerdloff issued his only walk of the game to rookie 2B Derek Jerome (New Nedford, Mass./New Bedford) on a full count. Hawk junior SS John Oppenheimer (Westport, Conn./Staples) laced the next pitch to center, but Malis was there for the catch and a strong throw prevented Comeau from tagging up. Roger Williams denied the shutout bid, however, when senior 1B Trevor Manzi (Beverly, Mass./St. John's Prep) singled to right. Swerdloff responded by getting a three-pitch strikeout to end the inning, fanning two more in the ninth to cement the game.

Offensively, McCarthy led all players with three hits, scoring two of the Judges' three runs. Bardwell was the only other Brandeis player with two hits, while Ing's double was their only extra-base knock.

For RWU, Manzi and rookie DH Joe Hock (Braintree, Mass./Braintree) each went 2-4 with a double. Comeau also had a two-bagger. Motta had a fine performance spoiled, as he went seven innings and allowed just the three earned runs. He gave up nine hits and struck out seven without issuing a walk.

Brandeis takes on Endicott College Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. in Beverly, Mass., while RWU hosts Commonwealth Coast Conference leaders Western New England College in a noon doubleheader the same day.