Baseball Rallies in Late Innings to Win 17-15 Slugfest over Brandeis

NORTHBOROUGH – Down 14-8 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tufts University baseball team rallied for a 17-15 victory over Brandeis University in the Jumbos' season opener at the New England Baseball Complex on Monday.

Justin Mills hit one of three Jumbo home runs today.

Tufts scored six times to tie the score at 14-14 in the bottom of the seventh. After a scoreless inning of relief by Tufts freshman Michael Volgende in the top of the eighth, the Jumbos scored three more times in the bottom of the inning to lead 17-14. Junior DH Ryan Day doubled to lead off the eighth and scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly by junior RF JP Knight. A walk to senior catcher Eric Schnepf and a hit by pitch for senior SS Will Shackelford brought home the other Jumbo runs in the eighth.

The Jumbos then had to withstand a final rally by the Judges in the top of the ninth. Sophomore LF Alex Parrott singled home a run making it 17-15. He represented the tying run at first base with the go-ahead run at the plate. Jumbo junior reliever Spencer Langdon got the final out on a ground ball to end the crazy three hour and 40-minute slugfest.

The teams combined for 37 hits in the nine-inning game (19 by Tufts), which included four home runs, eight doubles and a triple. Both teams used six pitchers who totaled 12 walks and seven hit-by-pitches. In addition to the 32 runs, the Jumbos left 14 men on base and Brandeis 11.

Tufts lead-off batter Justin Mills hit the second pitch he saw out to right-center and Jumbo senior LF Casey Santos-Ocampo also hit a first-inning home run as the home team surged to a 4-0 lead.

A two-run home run by Brandeis junior RF Dan O'Leary in the second and an rbi double by Parrott helped put the Judges in front 5-4 through three innings.

The Jumbos then retook the lead 6-5 in the fourth when senior catcher Harrison Frickman hit a lead-off home run and Day doubled to right scoring a run.

Brandeis opened up a 10-6 advantage by scoring five times in the fifth. Junior 2B Victor Oppenheimer smacked a two-double and sophomore SS Mike Khoury followed with a two-run triple in the frame. When Brandeis added two more in the sixth, they had their first six-run lead in the game at 12-6. Sophomore CF Dan Frey and O'Leary hit back-to-back doubles to plate the sixth-inning runs.

Tufts got two back in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run double by sophomore 3B Rich Daues, closing the gap to 12-8. However, a two-run double by Frey put the Judges' advantage back at six (14-8) in the top of the seventh.

In the Jumbo bottom of the seventh when they tied the score at 14-14 with six runs, five were unearned. Schnepf had a two-run single in the inning and junior 2B Elias Varinos walked in a run and scored. Eleven Jumbos came to the plate in the seventh, which was aided by a Brandeis error and two walks and two hit-by-pitches by the Judges' pitcher.

Day and Frickman both had three hits for Tufts, while Daues, Varinos and Schnepf all had three rbis. Santos-Ocampo scored four times. Volgende earned the win in relief in his collegiate debut and Langdon picked up a save.

Frey and Parrott had four hits apiece for Brandeis, while both joined Oppenheimer and O'Leary in driving home three runs. Sophomore catcher Luke Hall scored four runs. Freshman Gavin Dauer took the loss in relief.

Tufts (1-0) takes its spring trip later this week starting with games against Castleton and Apprentice on Friday. Brandies (2-1) is at WPI on Thursday.