Brenner goes deep, but baseball drops home opener to Tufts, 5-3
Tufts opened the scoring in the top of the first when sophomore 3B Wade Hauser (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) drove a 1-1 offering from Brandeis senior Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) over the fence in left field for his first home run of the season.
Brandeis nearly answered in the second, when senior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) hit one off the fence in center field with two away. Tufts sophomore Willie Archibald (Milton, Mass./Milton) got another fly ball to strand Ferro at second. Archibald also worked around a lead-off single by Brandeis's Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian) in the second to finish a scoreless two-inning stint and pick up the win.
Tufts added two more runs in the third. Sophomore 2B Joe Harrington (Burke, Va./Gonzaga) singled to right field to open the inning. After he was bunted to second and Britton hit a batter, sophomore RF James Howard (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Southside) sent one through the left side to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. After Britton retired Hauser on a liner to right, he hit his second batter of the inning and issued a five-pitch walk to put Tufts ahead, 3-0.
Brandeis got two of those runs back in the fourth against Tufts' third hurler of the game, sophomore Tom Ryan (Walpole, Mass./Walpole). With one away, junior DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) dribbled one down the third base line that stayed fair. Brenner followed with a long home run to left on a 2-2 offering. The first round-tripper of Brenner's collegiate career got the Judges within one run.
Unfortunately, Tufts reclaimed their three-run lead in the next half-inning, scoring twice on just one hit. Britton's third hit batter of the game was senior SS Josh Staniewicz (Boca Raton, Fla./Spanish River), who stole second. After Howard walked, Hauser singled to left to plate the fourth Jumbo run. Both runners moved up a base on the throw, putting two in scoring position with nobody out. Britton was able to minimize the damage by getting sophomore DH Bryan Egan (Watervliet, N.Y./Shaker) on a sacrifice line drive to center, followed by a grounder to short and a fly ball to left, but Tufts still owned a 5-2 lead after five-and-a-half.
Britton worked around another sticky situation in the seventh, when Staniewicz doubled to lead off and moved to third on a passed ball. With the infield in, Britton got a grounder to second and a shallow pop to short left, with rookie CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) making a terrific diving catch to end the inning.
Brandeis got one run back in the seventh, the second inning of work for Tufts rookie Andrew David (Pacific, Mo./Pacific). With one out, the Judges loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. O'Connor got one run home with a sacrifice fly to left, but a hard grounder to short ended the threat. Tufts closer Matt Moser (Great Falls, Va./Langley) then retired six of the seven hitters he faced, two by strikeout after a leadoff hit in the ninth, to earn his third save of the season.
Britton suffered the loss, falling to 2-2 on the season, despite a seven-inning outing, his fourth start of at least six frames. He allowed just five hits and five earned runs, striking out five, but two walks and three hit batters were costly. Brenner (2-4, HR, 2 RBI) and sophomore 2B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) (2-4, 2B) were multiple hitters for the Judges. Hauser (2-5, HR, 2 RBI) was the Jumbos' only multiple hitter.
Brandeis returns to action tomorrow at 3 p.m. against Endicott College, while Tufts opens a four-game set with Hamilton College on Saturday at 1 p.m.
- 30 -