Britton, Swerdloff toss complete games as baseball splits with WPI

Dylan Britton '13 and Mike Swerdloff '13 (Photos by Sportspix/Jan Volk/Mike Tureski)

WALTHAM, Mass. – With four terrific performances on the hill, the Brandeis and WPI baseball teams split a doubleheader today. In the opener, Brandeis senior Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) bested WPI rookie Mark Bentson (Brewster, N.Y./Brewster), 5-3. The Engineers took the second game, 2-1, as sophomore Taylor Landry (Kennebunk, Maine/Kennebunk) outdueled Judge senior Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley). Brandeis is now 8-16 on the season, while WPI is 10-21.

      In the opener, the Judges got off to a hot start. The first five batters reached, producing three runs. Senior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) and rookie CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) each singled. They executed a double-steal to get into scoring position, and a wild pitch brought home Ferro to open the scoring. After a walk, sophomore 1B Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St Peter-Marian) plated O'Connor with a single up the middle. A bunt single by sophomore 2B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) loaded the bases with no one out, but Bentson settled down, getting two grounders and a lineout, yielding only one more run.

      WPI answered in the top of the second, getting all three runs back. With one away, senior catcher Shane Sampson (Worcester, Mass./W. Boylston) and rookie 1B D.J. Ouellette (Watertown, Conn./Watertown) each singled. Rookie CF Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, Mass./St. John's Prep) singled to right to plate Sampson, while an error in the outfield allowed Ouellette to score. Junior 2B Matt Blakeman (Bedford, N.H./Bishop Guertin) then singled up the middle to knot the game at 3-3.

      The Engineers had a golden opportunity to jump ahead in the fourth when the first two batters reached on an error and a single. Britton got out of trouble with a pickoff and a 6-4-3 double play keeping the game tied.

      The Judges scored the winning runs in the next half inning. After rookie RF Max Hart (Montville, Conn./Montville) pulled one through the right side, junior 3B Dominic Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) reached on a throwing error that put both runners in scoring position. Junior LF Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) sent a ball to the deepest part of centerfield for a sacrifice fly that proved to be the winning run, while Ferro doubled two batters later to plate Schwartz with an insurance run. Britton took over from there, retiring nine of the final 10 WPI hitters, including a nifty defensive play by sophomore SS Brian Allen (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic) for the next-to-last out of the contest.

      Britton allowed seven hits and three runs (two earned) in seven innings for his second complete game of the season. He struck out four and walked just one. Britton  fanned four and walked two to improve to 4-2 on the season, leading the team in wins. Bentson threw six inning of six-hit ball, allowing five runs (three earned) to fall to 3-3 on the campaign.

      Offensively, the only multiple hitters were Ferro for the Judges and Capuano for the Engineers. Ferro's RBI double was the game's only extra-base hit.

      Game two featured two even better pitching performances turned in by Landry and Swerdloff. Landry improved to 2-2 on the season with seven innings of four-hit ball. He allowed just one earned run, walking two and striking out one. Swerdloff was a tough-luck loser, as he gave up just five hits of his own, striking out a season-high six and walking just one. Only one of his two runs was earned as he fell to 2-4 despite throwing into the seventh inning or later for the sixth time in seven starts.

      For the second game in a row, Brandeis scored first in their first at-bat, only to see WPI match them in the next inning. The Judges opened the scoring when Ferro singled, moved to second on a bunt and third on a grounder to second before coming home on a Brenner single through the left side.

      WPI answered when Sampson drew a leadoff walk. He was bunted to second, moved to third on an errant pick-off throw and scored on a Caliri infield single. A Blakeman single to center made the run earned.

      After Brandeis was unable to convert a two-out double by Ing in the second, WPI scored the game-winning run in the top of the third. Rookie LF Cody Holmes (Plymouth, Mass./Plymouth North) singled to start the inning, and Swerdloff hit rookie SS Vinny D'Ambrosio (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac). Swerdloff induced a comebacker to the mound to the next batter, but he chose to go to third with the throw, and ended up throwing it away, allowing Holmes to score. Swerdloff was able to minimize the damage, but the Brandeis offense was unable to break through against Landry.

      The Judges drew three walks in the sixth and seventh, but were unable to convert. In their final at-bat, Hart drew a free pass to open the frame. Schwartz bunted him to second and a wild pitch got Hart to third with one away, but Landry got a pop to left and a grounder to short to leave the tying run 90 feet away.

      The top hitters in game two were Caliri for WPI, who was 2-3 with a double and an RBI, and Brenner for the Judges, who was 2-2 with a walk and an RBI. Ing had the game's only other extra-base hit, a double.

      Brandeis returns to action with another twinbill on Tuesday against Johnson & Wales University at 3 p.m. WPI takes on cross-town rival Worcester State on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.