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Baseball goes 4-4 during break, loses on Thursday

By Kara Karter

Section: Sports

April 9, 2010

Playing baseball is an everyday commitment, and spring break is no exception. With eight games scheduled over the course of the nine day interlude, classes proved the only thing missing from the Brandeis baseball team’s calendar. Brandeis broke even, going 4-4, and doubled its total number of wins on the season.

More impressive, however, was the Judges’ ability to win on the road. With a doubleheader against Framingham State marking the Judges’ only home appearance in a two week period, Brandeis played its best baseball of the season.

It began March 27 with a pair of games against Springfield College (9-12). The arm of pitcher Drew Brzozowski ’10 lifted the Judges to a 2-1 victory in the opener. The senior starter was nearly untouchable, allowing only three hits en route to his first win of the season and the fourth complete game of his career. One of the hits occurred in the third inning, a two out homer by Pride right fielder Peter Calandra ’11. However, this would prove to be Brzozowski’s only real mistake. Brandeis scored its runs on singles from Chris Ferro ’13 and John O’Brion ’10.

Deviating from the earlier pitcher’s duel, the nightcap became a high scoring, sloppy affair. Behind starter Steve Forbes ’11, the Springfield defense committed six errors, allowing six unearned runs to cross the plate. Two of the errors and three of the runs came in the first inning, as the Judges jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. The Judges never looked back and went ahead to claim a 10-8 victory. Designated Hitter Jon Chu ’12 was the star, not only of the game, but of the doubleheader, going 4-for-6 on the day with a double, sacrifice fly and three RBIs. The success at Springfield gave the Judges three consecutive victories, dating back to their March 25 win at Salve Regina. The winning streak would turn into four games the following day against Framingham State (9-9). In the first game of another day of doubleheaders, the Judges won 6-1. Again, another strong young arm would get them there. Mike Swerdloff ’13 refused to relinquish the pitching rubber, fanning six in a complete game four-hitter. He allowed only two runners to make it past second base.

In the second game, the winning streak came to an end, as the Judges dropped a 7-5 decision. After quickly erasing an early 4-0 deficit with clutch hitting from Chu, Drake Livada ’10, and Tony Deshler ’11, Brandeis just as quickly gave up three more. The culprit was not the big bomb but another pair of errors. Despite having base runners in each of the last two innings, the Judges never really threatened Framingham pitcher Matthew Magazine. The junior pitched 3.2 scoreless innings of relief and earned his second victory of the season.

Five days later, the Judges would drop a heartbreaker at MIT (7-8), allowing three runs in the bottom of the ninth as the Engineers walked off to a 6-5 win. Called on with one out in the inning, Kyle Ritchie ’10 gave up a bases- clearing double to MIT’s Stewart Park ’10. The Judges had earlier climbed out of a hole of their own, coming back from 3-0 to take a 5-3 lead in the eighth inning. Despite the loss, the Judges’ bats were alive. Ferro and James Likis ’10 each tallied three hits. Deshler and O’Brion picked up a pair a piece.

With another doubleheader in line for the next afternoon, the Judges could quickly put their MIT misfortune behind them. In the first game, Brandeis smacked 14 hits and scored 11 runs. And they poured it on early, scoring five runs in the first inning against Clark starter James Wilson ’12. Leadoff man Deshler batted .800 for the day, going an impressive 4-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored. Offense notwithstanding, the stopper, again, was Brzozowski, who pitched his second-straight complete game. He allowed only six hits while striking out five as Brandeis would defeat Clark 11-3.

The second game proved a bit tighter. After struggling to get anything going against Brendan Solecki ’10 for most of the afternoon, the Judges evened the score at 2-2 in their last at bat. Deshler reached base on an error by third baseman Peter Lewis ’11, who was playing the position for just the second time this season. He would come home on a single from Chu, who was thrown out trying to advance to second. After both teams pitched scoreless frames, Clark tacked on the win in the bottom of the eighth with a single from Kevin Kopec ’11.

Brandeis would drop the final game of the spring break session as well, falling to Tufts University’s Jumbos 3-1 this past Tuesday. The Jumbos (12-3) got off to a great start, scoring three in the first inning against Brandeis’ Dylan Britton ’13. It would be all they needed, as nine Tufts pitchers, tossing no more than an inning a piece, combined to limit the Judges to one run (scored on a wild pitch) on four hits. The win marked Tufts’ seventh in eight games.

With class back in session, the Judges may have been distracted on Thursday afternoon, losing 5-1 to Rhode Island College’s Anchormen. If the Anchormen were seeking revenge for their basketball team’s loss to Brandeis in this year’s Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division III tournament, they would have it. Pitcher Gary Levesque ’11 would go seven for RIC, allowing only one run on four hits. The East Providence native would also prove the anchor for their offensive outburst, cranking a bases-clearing double in RIC’s four-run fifth inning and scoring on a wild pitch by Judges Rookie Andrew Weissenberg. Ferro accounted for the Judges’ offense, pounding a ball over the leftfield fence for his team leading third home run of the season.

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