AMHERST, Mass. – Dylan Driscoll '14 fired a complete-game shutout, scattering seven hits and walking none as the Amherst College baseball team earned a 7-0 non-conference win over Brandeis University on Friday afternoon at Memorial Field.
Shortstop Taiki Kasuga '14 and first baseman Eric West '15 each tallied three hits and drove in a run to pace the Lord Jeff offense while catcher Conner Gunn'16 continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI and a walk. Nolan Stewart '13 (2-for-4), Danny Pillitteri '13 (1-for-3) and Brendon Hardin '15 (1-for-3, 2 runs scored) also drove in runs for Amherst (9-5).
Driscoll was the story all afternoon, however, as the junior righty needed just 98 pitches to carve up the Brandeis lineup and improve to 3-0, striking out two. Catcher Chris Ferro '13 had the only multi-hit day for the Judges (5-11), going 2-for-4. The senior backstop nearly gave Brandeis a first-inning lead, but his two-out blast to left bounced off the top of the wall and back into play for a double. The shot amounted to nothing when Driscoll induced a comebacker by Tom McCarthy '15 to retire the side, and the Jeff hurler was dominant from then on, allowing only two more runners to reach second base over the final eight innings.
With Driscoll settling into a groove, the Jeff bats broke through with a crooked number in the third off of Brandeis starter Mike Swerdloff '13. After Hardin walked and Alex Hero '14 beat out a grounder, Kasuga fanned, but his swing protected a nifty double steal as the Jeff speedsters got in scoring position. Gunn rewarded the effort, ripping a two-run single to center before a West hit continued the parade and run-scoring knocks by Stewart and Pillitteri capped the four-run frame.
Amherst tacked on an insurance tally in the seventh when Kasuga accidentally popped a bunt attempt over the head of the charging third baseman for a single and West chased him home with a double down the left field line. An inning later, the Jeffs plated two more when Hardin's bunt single was thrown away, allowing Mike Odenwaelder '16 to score from second. Kasuga ripped an RBI knock up the middle two batters later to cap the Amherst scoring.
Swerdloff took the loss for Brandeis, falling to 1-2 as he yielded nine hits and four runs over 5.2 innings of work, striking out four and walking one. Elio Fernandez '15 came on in the sixth before surrendering a run in the seventh then giving way to James Machado '16 for the final out of the frame. Kyle Brenner '15 pitched the eighth for the Judges, yielding the final two Amherst runs.
With a pair of shutouts in their first two home games, the Jeffs will enjoy a week off from action before beginning NESCAC West play on Memorial Field in the opener of a weekend series with Middlebury at 3 p.m. on Friday, April 5.