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Brandeis ends relentless road trip with 4-3 record

Published: March 2, 2012
Section: Sports


The Brandeis baseball team started their season with a trip to Florida for the Russ Matt Invitational, finishing 4-3. The Judges started off the trip with a matchup against Warner; starting out with an early lead, the Judges scored seven runs in the first two innings and never looked back. Starter Colin Markel ’14 earned the win in 3 1/3 innings of work, during which he gave up no runs on four hits and walks. Warner scored a run in the seventh inning and added two more in the ninth inning to avoid getting shut out.

In their second matchup of the season, the Judges faced Augustana in a double-header. In the first game of the double-header Augustana pounded starter Mike Swerdloff ’13, scoring seven runs in the first two innings. Augustana added a run in the third and fourth, and three runs in the fifth dominating Brandeis in a 12-0 shutout. In the second game of the double-header, the Judges rebounded behind starter Kyle Brenner ’15. In his first collegiate start, Brenner pitched a complete game scattering nine hits and allowing just a single run as he picked up his first career win 3-1.

The following day, Brandeis faced Augustana once again. The Judges only mustered two runs on home runs from Chris Ferro ’12 and Sean O’Hare ’12 as Augustana once again pounded the Judges 16-2. Augustana scored runs in every inning including five runs in the first, four in the third and three in the sixth. Unlike Brenner the day before, Elio Fernandez ’15 did not have success in his first career start as Augustana quickly jumped on Fernandez in the first inning taking advantage of four hits, a walk and two hit batters.

The next day, Brandeis continued their relentless schedule with a double-header against Farmingdale State. The Judges split the double-header, falling 11-7 in the first game and winning 14-6 in the second game as their bats erupted for 13 extra base hits in the double-header. O’Hare finished the double-header 5-of-8 with four doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored while Pat Nicholson M.A. ’12 added a solo home run and Brian Ing ’14 cranked a three-run shot. Ing took the loss in the first game while Swerdloff evened his season record at 1-1, winning the second game.

In the final game of the road trip, the Judges looked to get above .500 with a win against the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. The Judges eked out a close 3-2 victory behind the effort of catcher Kenny Destremps ’12 and another stellar start from Brenner. Brenner pitched another complete game and now has two complete games in his first two career starts and Destremps hit a game-winning solo home run in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie.

O’Hare, one of the senior captains, commented on pitching saying, “There’s been a change in bat types the past year from a BESR model to a BBCOR model. The BESR model has more exit-speed when contact is made while the BBCOR model plays more like a wooden-bat and has less exit speed giving an advantage to pitchers.” O’Hare continued, “We have a lot of freshmen pitching that are ready to contribute in the starting role and in relief.”
When asked about the team’s approach at the plate, O’Hare added, “There’s a good mix of power and singles on the team. Everyone’s capable of hitting the long ball but as a team we’re looking for line drives to keep the ball low and in play.”

O’Hare also said, “The team is capable of much more this year. I feel like there’s better chemistry on and off the field. Last year we finished 24-19 but I feel we lost focus down the stretch losing five of our last seven games. Our goal this year is to make the NCAA tournament. I feel that this is the best team I’ve been on in my four years on the team. But at the same time it’s hard to make the tournament. Since we’re in the UAA we don’t get an automatic bid so we have to compete for an at-large bid with other local powerhouses like Tufts and Wheaton.”
O’Hare wasn’t concerned with the 4-3 start to the season in Florida adding, “I wanted to do better, but I wasn’t disappointed. We typically start slow every year. It’s hard when you can’t practice on the field. There’s definitely a disadvantage for us being in Waltham. With the weather problems we can’t practice on the actual field and have to practice hitting and grounders in the gym. It’s a big difference from the gym to the actual field. Southern teams have an advantage since they can practice on the diamond while we’re stuck inside. The only advantage I can see for us is that it lets us rest our arms at the beginning of the season since we aren’t having to throw full distances on the diamond during practice.”

Brandeis will return to action March 11 when they travel to Florida for the UAA tournament.