Errors costly as baseball falls to RIC, 8-5

Kyle Brenner '15 (Photo by Sportspix/Jan Volk)

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis sophomore Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter Marian) struck out a career-high eight batters in 8.2 innings of work, but he was vicitimized for five unearned runs today as the Judges fell to Rhode Island College, 8-5, on Stein Diamond. Brandeis falls to 6-13 with the loss, while RIC improves to 6-15.

Brandeis opened the scoring in the first inning with one run, though the damage could have been worse. Three straight singles to open the inning loaded the bases, but the Judges' only run came on a sacrifice fly by sophomore 2B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) as RIC senior Mike Farias (W. Greenwich, R.I./Exeter-West Greenwich) induced a pop-up and groundout to first to avoid more trouble.

The Anchormen took advantage of a costly error in the top of the second to score three unearned runs. With two outs and a runner on first, sophomore 2B Tyler Collins (Cranston, R.I./Cranston West) reached on a ball booted at second base. A wild pitch by Brenner put both runners in scoring position, and leadoff hitter Zach Hubbard (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola) followed with a single down the left field line that put RIC ahead, 2-1. Hubbard then stole second and scored on senior CF Kevin Carey's (Wakefield, R.I./South Kingstown) single to left.

Brandeis responded in the bottom of the second, however, loading the bases for the second straight inning with one out. Farias got a strikeout for the second out, but Judge senior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) knocked home two runs with a drive to left, tying the game. A wild pitch plated rookie CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) and the Judges went back ahead, 4-3. Farias settled down after the second inning, though, retiring nine in a row and 15 of the next 17 hitters to allow the visitors to climb back into the contest.

RIC tied the game in the fourth on Carey's two-out double over the left fielder's head. That set up  junior first baseman Justin Rainville'a (Cumberland, R.I./Woonsocket) heroics in the fifth. Rookie catcher Matt Foley (Seekonk, Mass./Seekonk) doubled to lead off the inning and junior DH Alex Verrecchia (Cranston, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) reached on an error. Rainville then turned on Brenner's first offering, sending it over the left field fence for his first round-tripper of the season.

In the eighth inning, with Farias out of the game, Brandeis looked to rally as they loaded the bases with no outs against RIC senior Andrew McKeon (Johnston, R.I./Johnston) on an error, a single and a walk. Anchorman senior closer Chris Mann (West Warwick, R.I./West Warwick) came on and minimized the damage. Brandeis scored once on a deep sacrifice fly by junior 1B Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield), but Mann got two comebackers to the mound to escape the jam. RIC got the run back thanks to two Brandeis errors in the ninth. The Judges were unable to return the favor after O'Connor led off the bottom of the frame by reaching on a miscue, as Mann picked up his second save of the season.

There were four multiple hitters in the game. For Brandeis, O'Connor went 2-5 with two runs scored and a stolen base, while Ferro was 2-5 with two RBI. For RIC, Hubbard and Carey were each 2-5 with two RBI and a run scored. Carey added a double and two steals to his resume, while Hubbard had one stolen base. Rainville's game-high three RBI all came on his round-tripper.

Farias improved to 2-2 on the season by tossing seven innings of eight-hit ball. He allowed four runs, all earned, and struck out nine while walking just one. Brenner fell to 0-4 despite nearly tossing a complete game. He went 8.2 innings and allowed eight runs, but only three were earned. He struck out his career-high eight - eclipsing his previous best by three -  with just two walks. It was Brenner's third game of at least eight innings pitched this season and the seventh of his career.

Brandeis returns to action on Sunday at Framingham State for a 1:00 pm game, while RIC hosts UMass Boston in a Little East doubleheader Saturday at noon.

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