The Brandeis baseball team ended its season losing eight of its last nine games. (This article is not for the cynics, who will want to examine the reasons for  the Judges’ 25-loss season.)

Judges 7, NYU 5 

The Judges collected their third win of the season on April 21 against the New York University Violets at home, with a score of 7-5. This was an especially impressive victory seeing as the Violets came into the game with a remarkable 24-7 record, while the Judges had a 2-20 mark. However, showing that they should not be ignored, the Judges put their numerous talents on full display to come out on top. 

At the plate, leadoff-hitting left fielder Donnie Weisse ’20 led the way for Brandeis with a single, walk and stolen base, as well as an RBI. Shortstop and team captain Victor Oppenheimer ’20 followed his teammate’s lead with a pair of hits and three RBIs on the day. Third baseman Mike Khoury ’21 continued his impressive rookie campaign with two hits, a walk, a stolen base and a run scored. However, second baseman Tommy Sand ’21 stole the show, going 3-3 with a walk, his second home run of the year, three RBIs and four runs scored.

On the mound, Tim Lopez ’20 and Mason Newman ’21 masterfully shut down the Violets’ bats. Lopez started the game, allowing three earned runs across 5.1 innings while striking out four. Newman followed that up with 3.2 innings of work, allowing two earned runs while striking out three and picking up the win. In a true David-and-Goliath battle, the Judges proved that they should never be counted out and put on an outstanding show for their home crowd.

Looking at the season statistics, there is a lot that the Judges should  be excited about. Offensively, the team batted .251 on the year with 14 home runs in 28 games. Compared to last year, the team improved its batting average by 43 points and hit 10 more home runs in just one more game. Even more impressively, Brandeis scored 70 more runs this season compared to last season.

Why should fans be ready for a breakout year in 2019? The Judges’ offensive leaders this past season consisted of four first-years and their sophomore captain, Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer had the third-highest batting average on the team at .280 and drove in 13 runs. Sand was a constant force at the plate, with a couple of long balls and a six-to-nine strikeout-to-walk ratio. Khoury led the team with a .308 average, .936 OPS, 23 walks (compared to 19 strikeouts) and four home runs.  He also added 16 RBIs on the year, which was the third highest total on the team. Outfielder Dan Frey ’21 was tied for the team lead with three steals and led the team in RBIs with 19, thanks in part to his two home runs. First baseman Isaac Fossas ’21 was a constant threat for the Judges, with 18 RBIs for the season.

While the team has some work to do on the mound in the offseason, the Judges have a lot of young arms ready to go. For example, coming off of an injury, pitcher Albert Gutierrez ’20 will look to get back to the dominant shape of his rookie campaign. In 2017, Gutierrez earned one of the team’s wins and sported a pristine 3.38 ERA. In addition, southpaw pitcher Greg Tobin ’20 will look to keep missing bats after posting a 9.0 K/9 mark this past season.

Things might not have always been pretty this season for the Judges, but an avid fan would just call it growing pains. This is a young team with a lot of fight in it, and the Judges will look to assert themselves in the University Athletic Association conference this coming season. Look for a powerful offense and a resilient pitching staff to take the league by storm next spring.