The Brandeis baseball team concluded its season this week, going 1-4 in its final five games. Brandeis played a home and home against Tufts University, falling 16-4 and 12-3 on Friday and Saturday respectively. On Sunday, the Judges split a doubleheader on Senior Day against Suffolk University, winning game one 10-5 and losing in game 2 8-7. Brandeis hosted Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) on Tuesday in the season finale, falling. 5-4. The Judges ended the year with an 18-16 record, marking the third straight year Brandeis ended with a winning record.
Friday, April 29: Tufts 16 – Brandeis 4
Tied 3-3 heading into the top of the seventh, Tufts scored 13 runs in the final three innings to cruise past Brandeis 16-4.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Mike Khoury (GRAD) and Luke Hall (GRAD) each singled. After back-to-back flyouts and junior Brian King ’23 hitting, Khoury and Hall executed a double steal, moving Khoury to third and Hall to second. King then singled to left, driving in both runners, and tying the game.
In the top of the seventh, Patrick Solomon of Tufts led off with a bunt single. Brandeis starter Asher Kaplan ’23 recorded the next two outs via a sacrifice out and then a strikeout. However, the Jumbos strung together five consecutive hits, scoring five runs, and knocking Kaplan out of the game. Lefty Cam Roberts ’22 recorded the final out of the seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth but ran into trouble in the ninth. Tufts scored eight runs in the inning, highlighted by a grand slam.
King and Khoury paced the Judges with two hits a piece. Before the seventh, Kaplan had been efficient, allowing three runs across six innings. Gavin Dauer ’22 pitched a scoreless inning in the ninth after relieving Roberts.
Saturday, April 30: Tufts 12 – Brandeis 3
King drove in two and Mason Newman (GRAD) pitched five innings, but Brandeis couldn’t overcome a strong Tufts pitching performance, losing 12-3.
Tufts opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs on a sacrifice fly and then a two-run homer. Brandeis answered in the top of the fourth with two runs on a King single. However, Tufts scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth, extending its lead to 7-2. The Judges’ only other run came on a Victor Oppenheimer (GRAD) groundout.
Brandeis managed just six hits, all singles, on the day. M. Newman started for Brandeis, allowing nine runs on 11 hits. Sean Decker-Jacoby ’24 pitched three innings in relief with three strikeouts.
Sunday, May 1: Game 1: Brandeis 10 – Suffolk 5 (7 innings)
Hall had four hits and drove in three and Brandon Musto (GRAD) pitched five strong innings as the Judges took the doubleheader opener 10-5.
Brandeis struck first, scoring three times in the bottom of the first. Sam Nugent ’23 hit a single to right and scored on a Hall double to left. Dan Frey (GRAD) drove in Hall with a single to right. Frey stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on an Oppenheimer groundout.
Brandeis scored three more runs in the fourth. Nugent plated Aneesh Avancha ’22 with a single. Khoury drove in Nugent by doubling to left and scored on another Hall double. The Judges scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings. Jakob Newman ’23 recorded the final six outs to secure the victory for Brandeis.
Hall finished the game going 4-for-4 with three doubles and two runs scored. Drew Michaud ’23 hit his second homer of the season. Musto allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out three.
Before the game, Brandeis honored its 14 seniors and graduate students.
Sunday, May 1: Game 2: Suffolk 8 – Brandeis 7 (7 innings)
Frey and Roberts each homered, but Suffolk scored five unanswered runs to split the doubleheader.
Trailing 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh, Frey drew a walk with one out. Frey advanced to second on a wild pitch. Oppenheimer hit a sharp line drive, but it was caught by Suffolk third baseman Christian Seariac. A King flare to right was caught on a dive by Suffolk’s Luke Harder to end the game.
Leading 7-5 in the bottom of the fifth, Brandeis loaded the bases with no outs. However, the Judges could not score, after a foul pop-out and a double play. Suffolk scored twice in the sixth to even the game at 7-7. In the top of the seventh, Suffolk’s Blasé Cormier reached on an error and advanced to second on the errant throw. Dylan January then doubled to center, bringing in Cormier and the go-ahead run.
Both Frey and Roberts homered to right. For Frey it was his seventh homer of the season, while Roberts hit the first of his career. Nugent added two hits and stole a base. Reid Latham ’23 started the game going pitching into the fifth. Latham allowed five runs on six hits while striking out three. Donnie Weisse III (GRAD) pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Tuesday, May 3: WPI 5 – Brandeis 4
Nugent was a homer shy of the cycle and Decker-Jacoby was masterful out of the bullpen, but the Judges fell to the Engineers 5-4.
Trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Hall led off with a single. Frey then doubled off the wall in center. Brandeis third base coach Peter Allain waved home Hall, but WPI’s Michael Fraser received the relay throw from centerfielder D.J. Brooks and made a spectacular throw from shallow center to nail Hall at the plate.
Nugent led off the eighth with a triple to right and scored on a Khoury groundout. Michaud singled to right with two outs in the ninth, but senior Liam Kennedy struck out to end the game.
WPI scored two runs in the first and three more in the second all off Brandeis starter Marc Maestri ’22. The Judges’ bullpen combined to throw 7.1 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, and striking out nine. Decker-Jacoby was fantastic in relief of Maestri, striking out six in 5.1 innings. Senior Christian Petrisko ’22 pitched a scoreless eighth and J. Newman pitched a scoreless ninth.
Brandeis’ 18 wins this season are the program’s most since 2015 and the second most since 2011. Offensively, Khoury led the Judges with a 0.401 batting average and 11 home runs, while Frey led the team with 25 extra-base hits and 48 runs batted in. On the mound, M. Newman led Brandeis with 53.2 innings pitched and 37 strikeouts, while J. Newman was excellent in relief all year, with a 2.52 earned run average and a team-high three saves.
Despite some major contributors graduating this year, the future for the Judges looks bright. Offensively, Brandeis will return King, Nugent, and Steven Simon ’23 next year, all of whom hit over 0.300 this season. In terms of pitching, Kaplan seems entrenched as the ace of the staff. J. Newman, Decker-Jacoby, Latham and Christian Tejada ’23 could also vie for spots in the rotation.
The group of 14 seniors and graduate students have a lot to be proud of. In 2017 and 2018, Brandeis combined for nine wins. Through strong leadership and perseverance, the group set a standard for excellence, culminating in a successful season this year. Brandeis defeated WashU in a season series for the first time in school history. This group has laid the foundation for the future of Brandeis baseball.