April 26, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - MIT's diamond program took its first step toward a second consecutive appearance in the NEWMAC Championship with a 3-0 victory against Springfield College, Thursday afternoon, at Briggs Field. Junior Jay Turner fired his second complete-game shutout of the season to out-duel sophomore Jimmy Lisowski, who endured the loss despite a great start for the Pride.
With the victory, MIT advances to the semifinals of the NEWMAC Tournament and will face Coast Guard, at 11:00 a.m., at Babson. The Bears advanced after a 3-1 victory at WPI.
Both of Thursday's starting pitchers were dominant from the first pitch. Turner scattered three singles through the first seven innings, while Lisowski was unscathed his first time through the Engineers' lineup.
MIT (12-11) secured the game-winning run in the bottom of the fourth behind the excellent base running of senior Jason Witzberger. Sophomore Steven Nunez, who finished 3-for-4 on the day, opened the frame with a single up the middle. After Witzberger reached on a fielder's choice the all-time MIT record holder in stolen bases swiped both second and third during the ensuing at bat. Not wasting the golden opportunity, sophomore Thomas Phillips lined a single through the box to bring Witzberger across the plate.
Springfield (9-20) nearly tied the game in the eighth, but sophomore Chris D'Annunzio served up the defensive play of the season in right field to erase the threat. Pinch hitter Ryan Tatreau sparked the Pride with a single through the left side to start the inning and pinch runner Kyle Pearce advanced to second following a sac bunt. With two outs, senior Chris Stack smoked a single to right field. As the potential tying run rounded third and headed for the plate, D'Annunzio fired a strike from the middle of the outfield. The play at home was incredibly close, but when sophomore catcher Paul Groudas, who was blocking the plate, turned to show the umpire the ball, Pearce was called out to signal the final out of the frame.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Engineers attempted to put the game out of reach by adding a pair of runs with two outs. Nunez started the two-out magic with a single to right field, while Witzberger followed with a single to left. Phillips then plated his second run of the tilt after another single to left scored Nunez. Witzberger added his second run of the contest off a double by David Nole. Looking for a fifth straight hit, junior Kevin Wheeler flied out deep to center to end the inning.
Turner (5-2) threw his fourth complete game in six starts, while lowering his ERA to a career-best 2.77. Lisowski, who struck out eight batters, took the loss and falls to 3-5 on the year.