Baseball and softball teams qualify for post-season
First rounds of tournament play will be at home on Wednesday, May 11
The Brandeis University baseball team has earned a berth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England tournament, returning the Judges to the postseason for the first time since 2008. Brandeis, the tournament's No. 2 seed with a record of 24-18, will play host to No. 7 seed Anna Maria College on Wednesday, May 11, at 3:30 p.m.
Brandeis is making its 10th ECAC tournament appearance and 22nd in the postseason under head coach Pete Varney who is in his 30th season at the helm. The Judges, who finished fourth in the University Athletic Association, are led by senior Tony Deshler. Deshler is the program's career leader with 156 games played and started and 627 at-bats. He ranks second in career hits with 205, just the second player in Brandeis history with 200 hits.
Deshler is one of six Judges batting over .300; he is hitting .337 with a team-high 56 hits, three home runs and 42 runs scored. Junior catcher Kenny Destremps leads the Judges with a .379 batting average, while senior first baseman Eric Rosenberg has 36 RBIs and 16 doubles.
On the hill, senior righty John McGrath is 7-0, the winningest single season at Brandeis since 2006. He owns a 4.07 ERA, third-lowest on the team. Classmate Pat Nicholson is 3-2 with four saves and the team's only shutout of the season, while sophomore Mike Swerdloff is 4-4 with a 3.68 ERA and 56 strikeouts, third-most in the UAA.
Anna Maria posted a 24-19 record and reached the semifinals of The Commonwealth Coast Conference (TCCC) tournament. The AMCATS are making their second-straight ECAC tournament appearance under head coach Dave McNamara, who is in his fifth season at the helm. The AMCATS are led by sophomore outfielder Mike Guarnieri, who was a second-team All-TCCC selection after driving in 32 runs to top the squad during the regular season and hitting .366 in TCCC play. Senior pitcher Zach Rafferty ranks second in the nation in Division III with 12.91 strikeouts per nine innings. He owns a 4-4 record with a 4.56 ERA.
Brandeis has a 3-2 record against the rest of the ECAC field, while Anna Maria is 3-3. Against six common opponents, Brandeis went 5-2 and Anna Maria was 4-11. The Judges went 3-2 against TCCC opponents during the regular season against teams that the AMCATS were 3-10 against.
The rest of the ECAC tournament quarterfinals has top-seeded Endicott College (30-15) hosting No. 8 seeded Becker College (22-11); No. 3 seed Worcester State University (23-14) traveling to No. 6 U.S. Coast Guard Academy (20-15); and No. 4 Wentworth Institute of Technology (24-15) taking on No. 5 Suffolk University (22-20) for Boston bragging rights. The semifinals and finals will be played on Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15.
Softball team is No. 2 seed in ECAC post-season tournament
The Brandeis softball team has earned a berth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England tournament, giving the Judges a fifth-straight postseason berth. Brandeis, the tournament's No. 2 seed with a record of 18-17, will play host to No. 7 seed Elms College (22-14) on Wednesday, May 11, at 4:30 p.m.
Brandeis is making its fourth ECAC tournament appearance in its five years under head coach Jessica Johnson. The Judges also qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2010. The Judges, who finished tied for third in the University Athletic Association, are led by a pair of All-UAA selections in infielder Brittany Grimm and utility player Marianne Specker. Both earned All-Association honors for the second year in a row. Specker led the team with a .384 batting average and .483 on-base percentage, the latter of which ranks third in the UAA. Grimm topped the squad with 41 hits and tied for the team lead with 23 runs scored. Senior 1B Courtney Kelley led Brandeis with 22 RBI and four home runs.
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Casey Ducinski posted an 8-4 record with a 3.47 ERA and 10 complete games, while rookie Melissa Nolan had 94 strikeouts – fifth most in the UAA – in 92 innings pitched.
Elms College was the runner-up in the New England Collegiate Conference. The Blazers put five players on the All-NECC team, including senior pitcher Destinee Meeker, who went 8-1 with an 0.67 ERA in the conference, and sophomore third baseman Rachel Butt, who hit .431 with 22 hits, including five doubles, and was perfect in 12 stolen-base attempts.
Neither Brandeis nor Elms has played any other ECAC tournament team in 2011. Their lone common opponent was WPI. The Judges split with the Engineers, losing 10-2 and winning 5-1, while the Blazers picked up a 10-9 victory. Brandeis owns a 7-5 record all-time against Elms, but the two programs have not met since 1999.
Keene State College (27-12) earned the top seed in the 2011 ECAC tournament, gaining a first-round bye. Other first-round matchups see third-seeded University of New England (27-17) taking on No. 6 Rivier College (26-14) and fourth-seeded Western New England College (27-17) hosting No. 5 Simmons College (24-15). Winners of first-round games will advance to Keene State on Saturday and Sunday, May 14 and 15.