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Baseball goes 2-4 on Florida road trip

By Charlie Romanow

Section: Sports

February 28, 2013

As spring training began in the MLB, Brandeis’ baseball team also spent quality time in Florida. The Judges played six games last week in Central Florida as part of the Russ Matt Tournament, leaving with a record of 2-4. Brandeis faced a variety of competitors from the NCAA as well as the NAIA. Three of the losses were against Augustana College.

During the most recent game on Feb. 24, the Judges played the Rochester Institute of Technology. The RIT Tigers led the game into the eighth inning but gave up four runs to allow the Judges to win 6-5. The bulk of these runs were driven in by senior Chris Ferro’s loaded double, which drove in all three runners. Brandeis played well, recording 15 hits. Kyle Brenner ’15, Rob Trenk ’15, Pat Seaward ’13 and Zach Bardwell ’15 each had two hits, with first-year Liam O’Connor ’16 leading with three. Trenk and O’Connor each scored twice, while Ferro led with four RBIs. The Tigers had a few players score multiple hits but were not able to take advantage of them, leaving seven runners on base. Dylan Britton ’13 started for the Judges with six innings of solid pitching, allowing Craig Rothenberg ’16 to get the win and Kyle Brenner the save. The Brandeis pitching staff was unable to strike anyone out. RIT’s pitching was led by Ethan Humbert who pitched 6 and one-third innings while only allowing one earned run.

Brandeis’ game on Feb. 23 against the Augustana Vikings left the Judges on the losing side of a 6-0 shutout. The Judges used many of their players, with 13 players getting a chance to bat, one pinch running and five taking the mound. Dave Maher ’16 had two hits for the Judges, while the Tigers’ Jacob Van Duyne went 4-4 with two runs and two RBIs. Kurt Schmidt also helped the Vikings with three hits and two RBIs. The Judges’ starting pitcher Elio Fernandez ’15 only lasted two-thirds of an inning with Jesse Link ’13 pitching one-third before having Colin Markel ’14 pitch six and one-third, striking out four and allowing two runs. Augustana’s pitching staff dominated with 10 strikeouts and allowed only seven hits.

The close game on Feb. 22 was against Augustana College, ending in a 5-4 loss for Brandeis. The Judges’ starting pitcher Mike Swerdloff ’13 went on a streak of 10 straight outs. Brandeis’ success began in the seventh inning with two runs followed by another two in the ninth. As with the following game, the Judges tried out many players with 12 players getting at-bats, and another three position players getting into the game.

Nick Cortese ’13 and Brenner each had two hits, with the latter contributing two RBIs. The game was tied going into the bottom of the ninth but was lost after giving up a hit, making an error, intentionally walking a batter and hitting the final batter. Neither team was able to get any extra-base hits. Brian Ing ’14 was left with the loss after allowing two hits and zero earned runs.

The first matchup against Augustana was a close one ending at 3-2 in favor of the Vikings. It was a pitcher’s matchup as each team scored with solid old-fashioned hitting. As with the following game, the Judges lost a close one on a silly mistake. This game ended with a runner being picked off.

Cortese and Trenk each had two hits. Bardwell had a good eye, getting on-base with two walks. Brenner received the loss, pitching six strong innings giving up 10 hits, but only two runs. Augustana was led by Jacob Van Duyne, who was 4-5 with two runs. They had three other players achieve multiple hits with one hammering a solo home-run. They also had effective pitching from starter Jared McIntosh who put in eight innings, giving up on six hits and two runs, allowing their closer to get the save.

Brandeis’ first loss of the season came against Southeastern University; the Judges lost this game 4-1. Brandeis came out with an early lead in the first, but was unable to add any more runs. While out hitting the Southeastern Fire, the Judges were unable to move runners up due to grounding into seven double plays in the game. Each team struck out six times. The Judges left seven runners on-base, while the Fire also had trouble moving runners to home, leaving eight runners on-base. Daniel Mims of Southeastern hit a two-run home run and scored twice. The Judges put six pitchers on the mound with Britton starting the game with four and two-third innings and four strikeouts while also recording the loss. Ing pitched two innings of no-hit ball later in the game. Southeastern utilized three pitchers, ending with a successful save.

Brandeis started the season with a 12-3 win over the hometown Warner University Royals. The Judges dominated most of this game adding six runs in the fifth, and another three in the sixth after Warner came out with an early lead. Brandeis had a slew of impressive performances with Cortese and Ferro each going 3-6 with two runs, and Brenner, Dan Gad ’14, Tom McCarthy ’15 and Bardwell each having two hits. The Royals committed six errors while having two players contribute multiple hits. Markel started for the Judges, pitching five and two-thirds, allowing four hits and one run, with Swerdloff ending the game with two innings, allowing one run.

While a 2-4 record is not what the team had hoped for going into the tournament, it seems that they have successfully used these early season games as a warmup for future UAA competition. The Judges had 16 players get an at-bat during the week, with an additional two getting a chance in the field and 10 being able to take the mound. Hopefully, the team has seen what combinations of players will work and will be able to adjust in further games.

Colin Markel ’14 also agreed with this sentiment.

“I really feel positive about the direction that the team is headed in. Obviously our most important games take place during our UAA trip to Florida because it’s league competition, but every game and really every inning counts toward a successful season,” Markel said. “We are really starting to feel good out there on the field and starting to play with a lot of confidence. And, individually, if everyone steps up and does their job, collectively we’re going to flourish.”

The team has a break from games until March 9.

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