April 19, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Sophomore Brandon Leonard advanced home on a wild pitch in the 10th inning with two outs to lead No. 24 Wheaton (21-6, 10-1) to a 4-3 victory and the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season championship. MIT (17-8, 6-3) scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to force the extra frame before dropping its second one-run game this month against the Lyons.
With the league's two most explosive offenses colliding, it seemed ironic that Tuesday's afternoon tilt blossomed into a pitcher's duel. Senior Matt Ponte got the call for Wheaton and pitched three hitless innings to open the game.
Freshman Jay Turner started for MIT, and although the rookie yielded two runs in the first two innings, the Holliston, Mass., native displayed good command.
A sacrifice fly resulted in Wheaton's first two tally's; the first coming after a bloop double by Leonard dropped over the first baseman's head, while a two-base error in right field led to the Lyons second score.
The Engineers loaded the bases with three straight singles in the fourth, but a great defensive play by Scott Guillerault stopped the rally dead in its tracks. The Wheaton rookie made an unassisted play at the hot corner on a sharply hit ball, and then completed the double play with a strong throw to first.
MIT finally got on the board in the fifth when freshman Kevin Wheeler lifted an opposite field homerun over the right field fence. With the Cardinal and Gray knocking on the door, the Lyons' bats delivered their third sacrifice fly of the game in the top of the eighth to stretch their advantage back to two.
Still pitching in the bottom of the eighth, Ponte got two quick outs and looked poised to escape another inning unscathed. Ricky Tydus kept the Engineers going with a double to deep left center and Wayne Duggan reached base for the third time on an error to put runners at the corners. Back-to-back RBI singles by Kyle Zeller and Warren Bates breathed fresh life into the Tech nine, while knotting the game at three.
With both starting pitchers out after impressive outings, each team turned to its bullpen for the ninth. Senior Cliff Roscow made quick work of Wheaton in the top half of the inning, while freshman Josh Moore answered with a 1-2-3 inning of his own.
With two outs in the 10th, Leonard walked. A timely hit by Rob Cipolla moved Leonard to third with one out. During the next at bat, a 2-1 pitch got away from Tech's closer, allowing the eventual winning run to cross the plate. Moore shut the door in the bottom of the inning with three straight outs to pick up the win.