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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Baseball team struggles on offense

Published: April 4, 2014
Section: Sports

This past Tuesday, Brandeis’ men’s baseball team faced off against Tufts University, a school commonly referred to by many as the Judges’ largest athletic rival. Advantage was given to the Jumbos as the game was played on Tufts’ own Huskins Field. Despite this fact, the game was evenly matched, as all other potential influences on the game were minimal. The weather remained sunny and only slightly windy throughout. Ranked as the 24th team within the Division III league, Tufts has been a strong competitor within the division this season.

The match began in Brandeis’ favor, with head coach Pete Varney choice to play starting pitcher Kyle Brenner ’15. Captain of the baseball team, Brenner has been pitching well all year. Here, he showcased his talents against the Jumbos. Pitching for all eight innings, Brenner only allowed seven hits. The Judges’ defense kept strong, and Tufts was kept in check for most of the game, despite the Jumbos’ early scores in the third and fifth innings of the game.

Regardless of a strong defense, the offense ultimately fell through for the team. Unable to move on-base players in for the score, it was not until the seventh inning that Brandeis was able to execute their first and only run. Here, Liam O’Connor ’16 made it on base with a single to center field. After successfully stealing to second, O’Connor was hit home by first-year Ryan Tettemer’s single.

The 2-1 loss on Tuesday represents Brandeis’ urgent need to improve their skills in batting. While generally the Judges offense was clean, a need for improvement was demonstrated by the fact that this game was lost despite the fact that they had more hits by the end of the game than their opponents.

A major error by the Judges occurred by Brian Ing ’14 at second base, in which an opportunity to hit him home was available with less than two outs that inning. While leading, the player was picked off and tagged out, and lost Brandeis an opportunity to score their first run of the game. With a few additional errors similar to this one occurring on Tuesday, the Judges’ ability to win the game was limited. First-year Michael Musto reflected, “Both teams were competitive, and if we were able to execute better on several opportunities than the outcome may have been different.”

The Brandeis baseball team has been experiencing shortcomings since their beginning of the spring season. After attending the University Athletic Association tournament in Sanford, Florida, two weeks ago, the team tied with the University of Rochester with two wins and five losses. Overall, head Varney has had a very successful career leading the Judges baseball team. At the helm for 32 of Brandeis’ previous seasons, Varney successfully has brought the Judges to the post-season 21 times. With his longtime experience in the sport and knowledge of Brandeis’ opponents, Coach Varney has what is necessary to be able to bring the Judges out of their current rut.

As all games thus far for the baseball team have been away, Brandeis has not been able to maximize the potential of home court advantage. Understanding this difficulty as well as their shortcomings in the game against Tufts, Brandeis is preparing for their first home game against Framingham State. It is scheduled for this Sunday, April 6 at noon.