Baseball pushes #18 WashU but falls, 4-3 in 10 innings and 10-4

Mike Khoury '21 scored twice and made a terrific defensive play in the opener (Photo by / Jan Volk)
Mike Khoury '21 scored twice and made a terrific defensive play in the opener (Photo by / Jan Volk)

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University baseball team was two outs away from upsetting 18th-ranked Washington University today, but the Judges couldn't hold off the Bears in a pair of University Athletic Association contests tonight. Brandeis fell, 4-3, in 10 innings in the opener, and 10-4 in the nightcap. Brandeis now stands at 9-12 on the season, 0-7 in the UAA, while Washington improves to 19-3-1, 5-0 UAA.

In the opener, WashU scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the first to take the lead on an infield grounder by catcher Thomas Gardner that saw first baseman John Brinkman beat the force attempt at second, and a single by DH Brendan Hall.

The Judges bounced right back when sophomore centerfielder Dan Frey (Ipswich, Mass./St. John's Prep) grounded to second but reached safely on a bobble that allowed junior second baseman Victor Oppenheimer (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) to score. Sophomore catcher Luke Hall (Georgetown, Mass./Georgetown) followed with a sacrifice fly to knot the game at 2-2.

Brandeis took the lead in the third when sophomore shortstop Mike Khoury (E. Bridgewater, Mass./E. Bridgewater) drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on a double by classmate third baseman Isaac Fossas (Dudley, Mass./Milton Academy). After Frey was issued another free pass, a balk put runners in scoring position with one out, but WashU starter Ryan Loutos escaped without further damage.

The Brandeis pitchers were terrific through the next seven innings. Though WashU had runners in several frames, junior starter Kyle Shedden (Spencer, Mass./David Prouty), sophomore Rik Jhamb (Shrewsbury, Mass./Advanced Math and Science Academy), sophomore Albert Gutierrez (Miami, Fla./Belen Jesuit Prep) and senior Daniel Schupper (Villanova, Pa./Harriton) did not allow an earned run in the first eight frames. Shedden allowed six hits in five innings of work, and the first three Judge relievers allowed just one hit in their 2.2 frames. Rookie Gavin Dauer (Winchester, Mass./St. John's Prep) shouldered the loss.

Khoury turned in a terrific defensive play in the top of the sixth with a runner on second and two away, making a diving catch over his shoulder to preserve the one-run lead. WashU finally broke through in the top of the ninth without benefit of a hit. The first two Bear hitters drew a walk and were hit by a pitch. Outfielder Henry Singer bunted to the runners into scoring position and Brinkman delivered a sacrifice fly to center to even the score at 3-3. WashU worked around a two-out error in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings.

In the 10th, the Bears drew a lead-off and one-out walk, putting the go-ahead run in scoring position and second baseman Eric Nagel singled to center to put the visitors in the lead. Brinkman came in from first base and retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame to earn the save, his third of the season.

In the second contest, at least one run crossed the plate in every inning, but WashU was able to put together three two-run frames to take the 10-4 win. Brinkman opened the scoring with a sac fly in the top of the first, but Oppenheimer hit a leadoff home run to deep center field to knot the game at 1-1. It was his third of the season and fourth of his career. Oppenheimer would draw a bases-loaded walk in the second to give Brandeis a 2-1 lead.

WashU scored seven unanswered runs to take an 8-2 advantage, highlighted by a squeeze bunt single from third baseman Collin Kahal in the fifth and a two-run home run by catcher Zack Styka in the fifth. It was his first of the season.

Brandeis scored runs in the sixth and seventh on a pair of unusual plays with sophomore Alex Parrott (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South). With runners on the corners in the sixth, he beat a fielder's choice to first base as the runner eluded a tag by the second baseman, allowing the runner from third to cross the plate. In the seventh, the bases were loaded when Parrott struck out but reached on a passed ball.

On the hill, WashU sophomore Jared Fong earned the win with 2.1 innings of two-hit ball. He allowed one earned run and struck out four to earn his first win of the season. In all, five Bear pitchers combined to strike out 15 Brandeis hitters, including six in three innings by starter Mitchell Black and four in 2.1 hitless frames by Jack Besser to finish out the game. Brandeis rookie Cam Roberts (Leominster, Mass./Nashoba Regional) suffered the loss after giving up eight hits and eight runs (five earned) in 5.1 innings. He struck out four and walked one and falls to 2-2 on the season.

Offensively, Brandeis was paced by Oppenheimer, who had two hits, two RBI, and two runs scored over the two games. Sophomore outfielder Tommy Sand (So. Windsor, Conn./So. Windsor) had five hits in nine at bats with a run scored. The Bears were led by Brinkman (3-6, 4 RBI, 2 R over two game), DH Brendan Hall (3-3, RBI in Game 1) and Styka (2-5, 3 RBI, 2 R, HR in Game 2).

The teams will finish out their four-game series tomorrow at 9 a.m.