Baseball makes New England debut with 2-1 win over #20 WNE

Max Hart '16 (photo courtesy Kenny Gad)
Max Hart '16 (photo courtesy Kenny Gad)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Brandeis baseball team made its New England debut a strong one today as the Judges defeated Western New England University, 2-1, on the road, behind a combined six-hitter from senior Dylan Britton (Poughquag, N.Y./Arlington) and sophomore Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter Marian). With the win, Brandeis improves to 5-10 on the season, while WNE - ranked 20th in the nation according to and #29 by the American Baseball Coaches of America - falls to 6-5. The game was Brandeis's first in New England after three cancellations due to weather and/or poor field conditions.

Britton tossed six-and-a-third innings, allowing all six Golden Bear hits. He struck out three, walked one and hit a batter. Britton surrendered just one run, coming in the first inning. With one away, WNE loaded the bases on two singles and a hit batter. Britton minimized the damage by inducing a pair of groundouts to second, with Golden Bear LF Thomas Perun picking up the RBI. After the first, Britton allowed just one WNE runner past second base, including working around a leadoff single by shortstop Kyle McKelvey in the sixth. 

After Britton retired the first batter in the seventh, Brenner came on and was outstanding in earning his second save of the season and his career. Brenner retired all eight Golden Bear hitter he faced, allowing just two balls out of the infield in the process to nail down the Judges' first victory in the last seven meetings with WNE. Britton earned the victory to improve to 2-1 on the season.

Offensively, the Judges tied the game in the fourth inning on back-to-back hits. Sophomore 2B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) stroked a double to right field to get the rally started against Western New England starter Trevor Breton. Junior Kevin Barry (No. Andover, Mass/St. John's Prep) followed with a single to left to move into a three-way tie for the team lead with his eighth RBI of the season.

Brandeis had a chance to take the lead in the fifth with runners on first and second and two away. Senior catcher Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole) singled, but the go-ahead run was cut down at the plate. The Judges finally went ahead in the seventh. Rookie RF Max Hart (Montville, Conn./Montville) led off the inning with a double and was bunted to third by senior pinch hitter Pat Seaward (York, Maine/York). Sophomore SS Brian Allen (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic) delivered the game-winning RBI when he reached safely on a ball hit to second base. It was ruled an error, but the run would have scored anyway, and rookie CF Liam O'Connor (Avon, Conn./Avon) made it an earned run charged to Breton with a single to right field. Breton escaped further trouble thanks to a line-drive double play but the damage was done. Breton fell to 1-1 despite 8.1 innings in which he allowed seven hits and just two runs. He fanned and walked four. 

Hart was the game's only multiple hitter, going 2-4 with a double and the game-winning run. McCarthy's two-bagger was the only other extra base hit for the Judges, while McKelvey's was the only one for WNE.

Brandeis returns to action Friday afternoon at Amherst College for a 3:30 contest.