Baseball prevails over Case, 4-2, in 10 innings

Tom McCarthy '15, Dylan Britton '13 and Pat Seaward '13 came up big against Case
Tom McCarthy '15, Dylan Britton '13 and Pat Seaward '13 came up big against Case

SANFORD, Fla. -- The Brandeis University baseball team scored three runs in the top of the 10th inning to support a tremendous pitching performance from senior Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) as the Judges defeated Case Western Reserve University, 4-2, in a University Athletic Association tournament contest at Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium. With the win, Brandeis improves to 4-5 overall, 2-1 in the UAA, while Case fell to 4-2, 2-1 UAA.

The game was quite a pitchers' duel for the first eight innings. The only run in that span came with two outs in the top of the fourth inning, when Brandeis sophomore 2B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) connected on his first career home run, a drive to right field.

McCarthy's bomb was one of only two hits allowed by Case starter Kevin Johnstone over the first eight frames, but Britton made it look like the lone run would stand up. Though Britton allowed Spartan baserunners in seven of the first eight innings, only one made it past second base. A lead-off error in the second made it to third on a pair of groundouts, but was stranded on a fly ball to center.

Case threatened again in the eighth, when a leadoff single, a bunt and a hit batter put runners on first and second with one away. Britton came through by getting a fly ball to center and a foul pop to the catcher. 

The Judges looked to add some much-needed insurance in the top of the ninth when junior DH Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) singled and was bunted to second. McCarthy walked to put two runners on, but Johnstone got foul pop to third and reliever Jose Vega induced a grounder to first to keep the score at 1-0.

The Spartans took advantage, finally getting to Britton in the bottom of the ninth. Catcher Robert Winemiller singled to lead off the inning and was bunted to second by 2B Andrew Frey. A single to center by DH William Meador put runners on the corners with one away, and 3B Mike Ilaqua drove another ball to center for a sacrifice fly that forced extra innings after Britton ended the inning on a grounder to second.

Brandeis wasted no time back on offense in the 10th. Sophomore 3B Rob Trenk (W. Orange, N.J./W. Orange) led off with a single to center, and after Vega struck out the next batter, rookie CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) extended his hitting streak to four games with another single to center. Vega walked senior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) to load the bases. The Spartans went to the bullpen for Sammy Altman, and Brandeis junior Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) broke the deadlock with a sac fly to left that advanced both runners into scoring position as well. That brought up senior Pat Seaward (York, Maine/York), who improved to 3-for-4 lifetime as a pinch hitter with a key two-run single to right, giving Brandeis a 4-1 lead headed into the bottom of the 10th.

Case would not go quietly, however. Britton yielded a single to SS Matt Keen to lead off the frame, ending his day after 108 pitches. Rookie reliever Craig Rothenberg (White Plains, N.Y. / Solomon Schecter) followed by issuing a walk and a single, loading the bases with no outs. Rothenberg settled down, getting a pop out to short, a run-producing fielder's choice that cut down the runner headed to third base and fly ball to center to secure his first career save. 

Britton's final line was a career-high nine innings pitched, eight hits allowed, two earned runs, two walks and two strikeouts. The win was the fourth of his career. McCarthy was the lone multiple hitter, going 3-4 with the home run, also the only extra-base hit of the game. 

Johnstone ended up with a no-decision for Case, allowing just three hits in 8.2 innings of work. Vega's three earned runs allowed in two-thirds of an inning gave him the loss. The Spartans' Winemiller and Paul Pakan each had two hits. 

Brandeis's next UAA game is against Washington University tomorrow at 11 a.m. The Bears defeated the Judges, 5-4, in the UAA tournament opener when the scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Brandeis also faces defending UAA champions Emory tomorrow at 2 p.m.