Baseball Rallies Past Brandeis, 13-6

WALTHAM, Mass. - Trailing by three entering the top of the sixth inning, the Amherst baseball team plated five runs on five hits en route to a 13-6 victory over Brandeis University. 

Notching their eighth-straight win, the Lord Jeffs improved to 18-5 (6-0 NESCAC) on the season, while the Judges fell to 6-27 (1-7 UAA) on the year.

Blasting his 18th career home run in the top of the first, Kevin Heller '12 (Brooklyn, N.Y.) tied former Jeff Zach Schonberger '06 for the school's all-time mark. Finishing 3-for-5, the Brooklyn native now also stands just one hit shy of tying Dave Powers '05 for the program's career record (167).

Taiki Kasuga '14 (New York, N.Y.) enjoyed a 4-for-6 outing with four RBI, while Quinn Saunders-Kolberg '14 (Charlottesville, Va.) went 3-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Mike Samela '12 (Westport, Conn.) and John Wagner '12 (Evanston, Ill.) combined for four hits and five RBI, while Thomas Wheeler '12 (Minnetonka, Minn.) and Alex Hero '14 (New York, N.Y.) each finished 1-for-3 for a potent Amherst lineup that pounded out 16 hits.

Zach Bardwell '15, Kenny Destremps '12 and Sean O'Hare '12 each logged a 3-for-5 afternoon for Brandeis, combining for five RBI and five runs scored. 

Amherst starter Dylan Driscoll '14 (Mount Airy, Md.) lasted just three and two thirds innings, giving up five runs on five hits, while Hayden Metz '12 (Ridgefield, Conn.) tossed three solid innings in relief, allowing just one run on three hits en route to his first win of the season. Kyle Brenner '15 took the loss for the hosts, surrendering seven runs on nine hits.

Hoping to get the Jeffs off to a fast start, Kasuga and Heller belted back-to-back homers in the top of the first, but the Judges' quickly responded, tying the game on a two-run O'Hare roundtripper to left center in the bottom half of the frame.

O'Hare struck again in the third, lifting his fifth homer of the season over the left field wall to give Brandeis its first lead before Zach Malis '12 later laid down a sacrifice bunt to extend the cushion to 4-2.

With the Judges tacking on another run on a Destremps two-out double in the fourth, Amherst looked to get something going in the top of the sixth. Bob Cook '13 (Winnetka, Ill.) got the rally started by drawing a two-out walk before Wheeler singled back up the middle to put two aboard. Saunders-Kolberg then ripped an RBI single to plate the Jeffs' third run before a walk to first-year Brendon Hardin '15 (Riverside, Conn.) loaded the bases. Needing a big hit, Wagner laced a bases clearing double before Kasuga kept things rolling, poking a single to center to make it 7-5.

Looking for more in the top of the seventh, Amherst recorded a couple more two out hits on a Saunders-Kolberg double and Kasuga single that upped the margin to four before Brandeis got one back in the bottom of the frame on a Destremps comebacker that plated Bardwell. 

Wanting to put the Judges away, Samela blasted a two-run home run to left center in the top of the eighth before another Kasuga single up the middle in the ninth staked the Jeffs to the final 13-6 margin.

Amherst returns to action on Friday, Apr. 20 at Middlebury.