After losing five games in a row, the men’s baseball team was desperate for a big victory to bounce back with confidence and momentum. The number-nine ranked Emory might not have been the best target, as the Eagles are undefeated in the UAA conference so far, but the Judges tried their best to come back in a close game that finished 12-10 in favor of the Eagles.
The fifth inning turned out to be the turning point of the game, when the Eagles scored 10 runs in a single inning. The Judges would go on to suffer another defeat, extending their drought to six games in a row. Their record fell to 2-8, with a 0-5 record in UAA conference play. Emory maintained their undefeated 4-0 record in the conference.
Despite a tough loss, the Judges finally found their stroke, eventually scoring some runs against the Eagles, especially after the fifth inning. Before this game, the Judges had only scored a total of five runs in three UAA conference games. The desperation of facing a huge deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning actually awakened the energy from Brandeis players as they exploded in the seventh by sending home five base runners.
Kyle Brenner ’15 opened up the scoring after walking with the bases loaded, his second RBI of the game. Then, another senior, Tom McCarthy, continued the momentum with a sacrifice fly to center. The rally continued as Greg Heineman ’16 singled to load the bases again, followed by Connor Doyle’s ’16 and Lian O’Connor’s ’16 run-producing singles. The Judges also made the most of the Eagles’ mistakes as rookie Nick Falkson ’18 reached on an error by the third baseman of the Eagles. The deficit was cut to 12-8, and the Judges truly demonstrated their ability to score and come back in this perfect inning.
The rally wasn’t finished as the Judges continued to shut down the Eagles’ attempts to expand their lead. In the meantime, Tom McCarthy again snatched a clutch two-out RBI single to cut the deficit down to 12-9. The crowd was on its feet when Luke Zeccola ’18 pinch hit and slugged his second home run of his college baseball career in the ninth inning. However, the comeback was not able to be completed before the end of the game. The tying run came to the plate for the Judges, but Emory reliever Michael Byman closed out the game as he successfully got Ryan Healy ’16 to fly to left to nail the game.
The 10 runs the Judges were able to score meant a lot to the team and to its future games since the players were finally clear about their incredible potential. Zeccola has managed to go deep two games in a row, and key players such as Brenner and McCarthy were able to step up even with a huge deficit. Hopefully, amazing performances from the Judges will be seen more often in their upcoming matches to halt their six-game skid and to turn around the team spirit.
The next game for the Judges will be on Friday, March 13 against the University of Rochester in Florida, which will also be a UAA conference duel. The Judges will play at home next Friday, March 20 with a game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute.