May 1, 2013

UMass Dartmouth spoils senior day triple play, 7-5

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University baseball team will not carry a winning streak into next season, as the Judges dropped a 7-5 decision to UMass Dartmouth on their senior day. The Judges, who had won five in a row and were searching for their longest winning streak since 2003, end the season at 15-21, while the Corsairs improve to 13-19 headed into their Little East finale this weekend.

Both teams banged out 11 hits, but UMass Dartmouth was able to bunch theirs together, scoring all seven of their runs in two innings. The big blows in a three-run second were an RBI double by sophomore SS Nate Farias (Fall River, Mass./Durfee), followed two pitches later by a two-run home run to left field by senior DH Tyler White (Westport, Mass./Westport), his fourth of the season.

Brandeis responded by scoring the game's next four runs. Three straight singles, the last two coming on perfectly execute hit-and-runs, culminated win an RBI for senior 3B Pat Seaward (York, Maine/York) in the second. In the third, the first two Judges reached on a single and catcher's interference, with a bunt moving them into scoring position. Junior Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) brought home one run with a grounder to second, while junior SS Dominic Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) bounced one through the left side to tie the game at 3-3.

UMass Dartmouth was in position to take the lead back in the top of the fourth when the first two hitters reached on an error and a single. But with the runners going on a 1-1 pitch, rookie 2B Taylor Cacciola (W. Greenwich, R.I.) lined hard to Brandeis's Max Hart (Montville, Conn./Montville) in right field. With both runners already at the next base, Hart fired to first-baseman Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian) for the second out, while Schwartz was at second to complete the triple play, the 15th in Division III this season.

The Judges used the momentum to take their first lead in the bottom of the fourth. Hart led off with a single, and senior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) reached on a fielder's choice. Ferro stole second and scored on rookie CF Liam O'Connor's (Avon, Conn./Avon) single to right.

UMD took the game in the top of the sixth, when they scored four times on four hits. The Corsairs also drew two walks and were hit by a pitch in the frame. The first three hitters reached, with sophomore Luke Bomback (Swansea, Mass./Case) singling through the left side, with a booted ball in left allowing a second run to score on the play. White added his third RBI of the game to plate Bomback with what would prove to be the winning run, while sophomore 3B George Aggostini (Dighton, Mass./Dighton Rehoboth) added an insurance RBI to make it 7-4.

Brandeis added a run in the seventh with Brenner led off with a double to right and scored two batters later on sophomore 2B Tom McCarthy's (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) single to center. Schwartz drew a four-pitch walk to put the tying runs on base, but McCarthy was gunned down at third as the pair tried to execute a double steal on a pitch in the dirt. The Judges had runners on in the eighth and ninth, but UMD turned a double play the first time and a two-out single by Gad proved fruitless in the ninth.

For Brandeis, O'Connor was the big hitter, going 3-4 with an RBI, a run scored and a double McCarthy and Schwartz each added two hits. Senior Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) suffered the loss, going 5.2 innings and allowing eight hits and seven earned runs. He struck out six and walked three, falling to 4-5 on the season. Brandeis seniors Jesse Link (Weston, Conn./Weston) and Stefan Weiss (Jericho, N.Y./Jericho) were effective out of the bullpen in their final games, striking out four in 2.1 innings of shutout ball. Brenner pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

UMD was paced by White, who was 3-4 with three RBI, two runs scored and a home run. Aggostini not only went 2-5 with an RBI, he also pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the save. The Corsairs used their whole pitching staff, with only one hurler going more than one inning. Rookie Paul Mahoney (No. Andover, Mass./Whittier Tech) earned his first collegiate win with a scoreless fifth inning, issuing a walk and a strikeout.

The game marked the final appearance for Brandeis seniors Britton, Link, Weiss, Ferro, Seaward and Nick Cortese (Guaynabo, P.R./Baldwin School of Puerto Rico); Mike Swerdloff (Scarsdale, N.Y./Ardsley) was the starting pitcher in yesterday's contest.