Baseball Advances Again Before Falling to Wheaton in NEWMAC Tournament

April 26, 2008

Box Score vs. Clark
Box Score vs. Wheaton

BABSON PARK, Mass. - MIT was eliminated from the 2008 NEWMAC Baseball Tournament, as No. 12 Wheaton picked up its second win over the Engineers in three days with a 7-1 victory on Saturday afternoon. MIT won its second game of the double-elimination tournament with an impressive, 9-4, victory over Clark on Saturday morning.

In the morning elimination game versus Clark (11-22), the third-seeded Engineers scored five runs in the third and freshman Ryne Barry pitched seven strong innings as MIT (17-15) topped the Cougars, 9-4.

Clark jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, as rookie Scott Hollingsworth doubled with one out, senior Joseph Silva followed with a single up the middle, and sophomore Ronald Bathrick cleared the bases with a two-run double to center. However, Barry would settle down after that, giving up just one run over the next six frames.

MIT took the lead with a five-run third, beginning with back-to-back one-out singles by sophomore Ben Bersanti and freshman Brian Doyle. Two batters later, senior Kevin Wheeler doubled down the left field line to drive in one run, and junior Thomas Phillips followed with a two-run double to left to give the Engineers a 3-2 advantage. Rookie William Blackman then knocked in Phillips with MIT's third straight two-bagger, and junior David Nole capped off the five-run outburst with an RBI single up the middle. The Engineers would tack on three more in the bottom of the sixth, highlighted by a two-run single to center by Doyle, as they coasted to the victory.

Barry allowed three runs on nine hits, walked two and struck out two as he improved to 5-0 on the year. Junior Steven Nunez pitched the final two innings for MIT, giving up one run on three hits. Sophomore starter Jonathan Merritt took the loss for Clark, evening his season record at 3-3.

Advancing to its ninth conference championship round in the NEWMAC's 10-year history, second-seeded Wheaton knocked off MIT, 7-1, in Tech's second game of the day. Ranked 12th nationally by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the Lyons improved to 30-7 in reaching the 30-win plateau for the fourth successive spring and finds itself playing against fourth-seeded Springfield College, which suffered its only loss of the tournament in the first round against the Engineers.

The game began as a pitcher's duel between Lyon southpaw Brian Hughes and Engineer righty Matt Loper, as the juniors combined to allow just one hit through the first two-plus innings. Loper was chased in the third after issuing three walks, but the duel continued as junior Stephen Toth limited the Wheaton offense to two hits in his first 3.2 frames.

Despite little offensive output in the early going, the Lyons did manage to snag a run in the third courtesy of a wild pitch. That run proved to be enough through seven innings for Hughes, who turned in a stellar outing that began with setting down his first eight batters. After giving up a single, he retired five straight into the fifth inning. With one down and runners on the corners in the fifth, a comebacker to the mound pulled the MIT runner off third, and he was erased after getting caught in a rundown. On the play, runners moved up to second and third, but Hughes escaped the inning unscathed with a fly out to right. He then induced an outfield fly to get out of a two-on, two-out jam in the sixth and went 1-2-3 in the seventh, setting the stage for Wheaton's two-run bottom half.

Senior Jake Yagjian and freshman Sean Munley plated a run apiece for a 3-0 Lyon advantage. The Engineers brought home their only run in the eighth, chasing Hughes while narrowing their deficit to two, but the Blue and White responded with four runs in the home half.

Three Wheaton pitchers limited the MIT offense to four singles.