March 27, 2007
CHANDLER, Ariz. - Despite the loss of four key starters and a completely revamped lineup, it took only three games for MIT baseball to once again assert its position among the top teams in the region. Competing against Middlebury College in the Greater Phoenix Invitational, the Engineers raised eyebrows after a thunderous offensive performance. Before all was said and done, 29 runners crossed the plate for the Cardinal and Gray as MIT defeated its NESCAC rival, 29-5.
The Panthers had little answer for MIT's (2-1) attack on Tuesday, which shattered a single-game program record with 33 hits. The Engineers scored in six different innings, plating at least five runners in four different frames. Sophomore Stephen Toth powered the attack with a break-out performance at the plate. Toth finished 6-for-6 plus a walk, while scoring four runs and driving home a game-high seven. Toth's six hits tied the Institute record for hits in a game which was originally set by Herb Kummer in 1975.
Obviously, Toth wasn't the only one seeing the ball well against Middlebury (3-3). Eight players recorded at least three hits and 10 players produced an RBI. Freshman Stewart Park drove home five runs while going 3-for-8, while Steven Nunez and David Nole each picked up three runs batted in and combined for seven runs scored. Park's eight at-bats also tied an MIT single-game record set three times during the 1972 campaign.
The Engineers scored seven times in the first inning, collecting all their runs after two outs. MIT repeated the two-out magic again in the second inning, scoring five more times with no outs to spare. After tacking on another run in the third, MIT was in front, 13-1, heading to the fourth.
With one out in the fourth inning, MIT broke the game open with seven more runs. After an RBI single by Jason Witzberger, Thomas Phillips, Nole and Kevin Wheeler answered with three consecutive doubles. Toth added one of his three doubles later in the frame to push the margin to 19 runs. MIT closed the tilt with an Institute record nine doubles, including Toth's hat trick which tied another school mark most recently clubbed by Joel Morales in 1997.
The Engineers established a plethora of offensive marks in Tuesday's win. The 29 runs batted in topped a record that stood for 40 years, while new records were established for extra base hits (11) and total bases (46).
Freshman Ben Bersanti filled in admirably in the lead-off role, reaching base four times, while connecting for a single, double and triple. Amid all the offensive fireworks, Jay Turner made his season debut against the Panthers, scattering four earned runs while hurling a complete game.