Baseball spoils NYU home opener with DH sweep

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The Brandeis University baseball team were ungracious guests in the first NYU home games in 41 years today as the Judges swept the Violets in a doubleheader at MCU Park on Coney Island in Brooklyn, home of the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones. NYU recently revived its baseball team for the first time since 1974.

Brandeis (6-10) won the opener, 4-2, behind a complete-game victory from sophomore Sam Miller (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury). In the nightcap, the Judges hit two home runs in the third inning and then held off NYU (5-11) in a back-and-forth game for an 11-8 win.

In the opener, Miller got all the offense he would need in the third inning. With one out, junior CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) doubled. A single by rookie SS Nick Falkson (Dedham, Mass./Thayer Acad.) was followed by junior RF Ryan Healy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) getting hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rookie DH Ryan Pocock (Westford, Mass./Westford) singled to left to drive in the first two runs of the game. Two batters later, senior 1B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) singled to left-center to make it a 3-0 game. The Judges' fourth run came in the seventh when Brandeis pinch runner Ryan Tettemer (Westfield, Mass./Suffield Acad.) scored on a passed ball.

Miller took it from there, scattering nine hits over the seven innings. He allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the third and an earned run in the seventh. Miller struck out three and walked just one in his second complete game of the season. He improved to 3-1 on the campaign.

In the second game, Brandeis trailed by a run after the Violets scored in the bottom of the first for their first lead in their new home park.

The Judges looked to blow the game open with a five-run third inning that featured back-to-back home runs. Pocock got the scoring started with a two-run single. McCarthy followed with the first home run surrendered by NYU at MCU Park, a blast to right field. It was McCarthy's first round-tripper of the season and second of his career. McCarthy was followed by sophomore 3B Greg Heineman (Wibraham, Mass./Minnechaug Regional), who hit a ball to right center that eluded the Violet fielders and allowed Heineman to circle the bases for an inside the park home run. Brandeis added a two-out run in the fourth when O'Connor singled and scored from first on Falkson's double to left.

NYU battled back to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the fourth with six unearned runs, courtesy of five hits and two Brandeis errors. After a pair of two-run singles by 3B Billy Griffo and 1B Christian Pellegrino, the Violets tied it on LF Christian Bloom's single. NYU went ahead on an unusual play, as a Judge sophomore Justin Freeman (Chelmsford, Mass./Brooks School) uncorked a wild pitch on ball four, allowing a run to come home to give the hosts a 7-6 lead.

Brandeis reclaimed the lead in the fifth when Pocock singled and McCarthy doubled to put two runners in scoring position with none out. Two batters later, sophomore catcher Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn./Avon Old Farms) singled to tie the game at 7-all, and Tettemer delivered a sacrifice fly to left to put the Judges back on top.

NYU knotted the game in the bottom of the inning as they loaded the bases on a walk and two singles. Freeman issued a walk to Violet pinch hitter Sam Raskin to tie the game at 8-8, but escaped further damage with a pair of swinging strikeouts.

Brandeis scored three times on just one hit in the top of the sixth to provide the winning margin. O'Connor led off with a single and stole second against reliever Matthew Wells. Wells got a pop-up for the first out, but issued walks to Healy and Pocock to load the bases. Wells induced McCarthy to fly to left for the second out, but his third free pass of the inning to Heineman brought in what proved to be the winning run. A costly throwing error by the NYU catcher on a pick-off attempt allowed the first two walks of the inning to come home to provide the Judges some insurance.

Brandeis sophomore Anthony Nomakeo (Westfield, Mass./Northfield Mount Hermon) closed out the game for his first career save. He worked around an NYU double and single in the sixth and retired the side in order in the seventh to secure the win for Freeman.

For the day, the Judges had a few offensive standouts. Pocock was 4-7 with four RBI on the afternoon, two in each game to improve his team-leading total to 18. McCarthy went 3-7 with a double, home run and three RBI. Falkson, with a hit in each game, has hit safely in all 16 of the Judges games this season, giving him the team's longest streak since Drake Livada '10 reached in 17 in a row in 2008.

With the two wins on the day, Brandeis head coach Pete Varney now has 698 for his career. He is looking to become the 13th active Division III coach and 29th overall to reach the plateau. This is his 34th year as the Judges' head coach.

Brandeis clinched the season series with NYU with the win, having taken three of the first four meetings. The squads will play on more time tomorrow at noon.