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Men’s Baseball defeats Tufts, loses slugfest with WPI

By zaronow

Section: Sports

April 11, 2008

Brandeis baseball went through a busy burst of baseball, with two road games back to back. It was a chance for boom and bust, and they ended up walking out of it with a “boust” if you will. Brandeis triumphed over Tufts 3-2 but could not out-slug WPI on the 9th, failing to protect a fragile lead in the last inning and falling 13-12.

Pitching and defense were not in style in Worcester as both sides combined for 30 total hits and eight errors (WPI surviving six of them). A home run by Drake Livada ’10 and RBI’s from James Likis ’10 and Artie Posch ‘10 gave the Judges a 3-1 lead, but WPI hammered rookie southpaw Justin Duncombe ’11, who had been called into relief for starter Craig Letendre ’08, for two home runs in the bottom of the third to take a one run lead.

From there on, no lead was safe as Brandeis climbed back from a three run deficit and took advantage of three Engineer errors in the seventh to claim a 10-8 lead. WPI designated hitter Mike Swanton immediately took the lead away with his second homer of the game off Kyle Ritchie ’10 to tie it up, but the Judges took a 12-10 lead thanks RBI’s from Dave Almeida ’09 and Pat Nicholson ’11.

The Engineers cut it to one going into the last inning where a costly throwing error by Livada set the tables for Mark Dignum to end it with a walk-off two-run single to left field.

Appearing in the final two-thirds of the inning, Pat Nicholson took the loss, surrendering two runs on two hits, none of them earned. WPI used four pitchers to Brandeis’s six; Brian Duncan claimed the victory for with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief pitching.Both teams feasted on the pitching with WPI clean up hitter Scott McNee outdoing Swanton’s two home runs by launching three out of the yard. Rookie Tony Deshler ’11 had a strong day at the plate for Brandeis, going 4-5 with a solo home run in the fourth.

The hitting clinic was a stark contrast to the tight game played the day before at Tufts as Drake Livada’s solo shot in the last inning broke the 2-2 tie and gave the Judges their tenth victory of the season.

Livada also scored Brandeis’s first run after reaching base on an infield single; he was brought home three batters later on Nicholson’s RBI single. Catcher Artie Posch ’10 gave the Judges the lead after being balked home. Tufts tied it up in the fifth but left two stranded.

Pat Nicholson got the win, throwing 3.1 shut out innings of relief following starter Drew Brzozowski ’10. Both pitchers had three strikeouts. Jumbos’ reliever Jack Dilday took the loss, Livada’s home run being the only major blemish in three innings of relief pitching.

With the split, the Judges are now 10-8 and return to home action today, hosting Bridgewater State at 3:30 pm. Brandeis then plays Jack Kerouac and goes on the road, taking on Keene State on April 13th, Suffolk University on the 15th, and Johnson and Wales on the 17th. Keene State is a 1 pm game, and the others are at 3:30.

The Brandeis baseball team has shown themselves to be capable of many things. This upcoming swing should tell us whether this team sustains success on the road, a trait that separates the champs from the also-rans.

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