March 25, 2006
WORCESTER, Mass. - The rookies at the bottom of the order capped a sensational week to open the season and junior Jason Witzberger continues to solidify his position as one of the best lead-off hitters in the region as MIT swept NEWMAC-rival Clark in a regular-season double-header. MIT rallied with four runs late to upend the Cougars, 5-4, in the conference opener, while the Cardinal and Gray produced a six-run sixth to win the nightcap, 6-3.
Unbelievably, Saturday's sweep gave MIT its first 3-0 start since 1984. The Engineers aim for their first-ever 4-0 start against the defending NCAA Division III Champions, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Monday, in Chandler, Ariz.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the sixth, Kevin Wheeler ignited MIT's first rally of the season with a two-out single. Freshman David Nole followed with a single of his own. Back-to-back hits precipitated a change at the mound, although the shift did little to hamper Tech's momentum. Freshman Chris D'Annunzio drew a walk to load the bases before fellow first-year Steven Nunez knocked two in with a single. Witzberger topped off the surge with his second run-scoring hit of the afternoon.
Senior Wayne Duggan (1-0) went the distance en route the win, yielding six hits and four earned runs to the Cougar attack. Freshman Matt Tillo endured the loss for Clark.
In a theme that was reminiscent of the 2005 campaign, the Engineers powered past Clark in game-two with one huge inning at the plate.
The game began as a pitcher's duel with Clark's Scott Archibald keeping the Tech bats silent throughout much of the evening, while the Cougars fared only slightly better against MIT's Jay Turner. For his part, Archibald delivered a fantastic effort, pitching six full innings while allowing six hits and no runs. RBI doubles by David Hanley and Joseph Silva put Archibald in line for the win heading into the seventh.
MIT took advantage of the pitching change by delivering three consecutive singles. Nunez sparked the hit parade from the nine hole. Wayne Duggan made it four straight singles after another change on the mound, while Kyle Zeller and Wheeler drew walks to re-pack the bags.
For the second time on the day, the bottom of the order delivered the game-changing hit as David Nole drove in two runs with a single that pushed MIT in front, 5-2. Freshman Stephen Toth capped the rally by following Nole's hit with an RBI single of his own.
Turner (1-0) surrendered two runs and seven hits in six innings of work, while D'Annunzio earned his first career save with three innings of solid relief. Clark junior Jeremy Strom was credited with the loss.