The Brandeis baseball team lost in heartbreaking fashion during the opening game of the UAA Championship, as Case Western Reserve University battled back late for a 9-8 win. The Judges are now 4-3 on the season, while the Spartans improve to 6-1.
Brandeis led 6-2 after five innings and 8-3 after seven, as the Judges scored at least one run in each of the first seven frames. But Case continued to battle back, scoring four in the bottom of the eighth, then winning on a walk-off, two-run double by left fielder William Meador in the ninth. Ray Kelly pitched a scoreless ninth for the Spartans and moved to 2-0 on the season. Rookie Liam Coughlin (Townsend, Mass./Lowell Catholic) fell to 0-1.
Case got two runs off of Brandeis junior starter Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter-Marian) in the bottom of the frame, but the Judges answered back with single runs in the second, third and fourth. Sophomore center fielder Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) had RBIs in the second and fourth innings, while senior DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) batted home Ing in the third.
The Judges stretched the lead to 6-2 in the fifth. Ing scored his third on a sac fly, then sophomore right fielder Max Hart (Montville, Conn./Montville) singled home Gad. Ing doubled home O'Connor in the top of the sixth, before Meador knocked in Case's third run in the bottom of the inning. Gad scored on an error in the seventh to give Brandeis an 8-3 lead, but that was all the Judges would get.
Spartan right fielder Jordan Dague got the rally going in the bottom of the eighth, blasting a two-run homer off of Brenner. Case scored two more runs on some small ball, but Coughlin came in for the final out to get Brandeis out of the jam.
Brandeis nearly got what would have been a crucial insurance run in the ninth. Sophomore Sam Miller (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) pinch ran for Gad, stole second base, then advanced to third on a single by catcher Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn./Avon Old Farms). The Spartans caught Miller in a rundown and tagged him for the first out, but Doyle was able to reach third. Unfortunately, Miller was tagged out at home on a fielders choice, setting up Meador's heroics.
Ing reached base five times for Brandeis, going 3-for-3 with two walks. McCarthy, Hart and sophomore 3b Greg Heineman (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug Reg.) each had two hits, while O'Connor had two RBIs. Brenner gave up six earned runs in 7.2 innings.
The Judges continue UAA action tomorrow, taking on the WashU Bears at 4 p.m.