March 28, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The nationally-ranked No. 6 Wheaton College baseball team extended its winning streak to 15 games while improving to 4-0 in conference play as the Lyons took a pair of games from MIT at Briggs Field on Saturday. The Lyons picked up an 11-5 win in the first game before erupting on offense late in game two en route to a 15-1 victory.
In the opener, senior Thomas Phillips provided MIT (8-6, 0-2 NEWMAC) with an early 2-0 lead after lifting his sixth homerun of the season over the fence in right center. Brian Doyle, who singled up the middle to start the afternoon, scored on the play.
The Lyons (16-1, 4-0) got three runs back with one swing in the top of the second. With two on and one out, junior Jason Clucas delivered his second homerun of the spring with a deep shot to left center. In the next frame, Wheaton plated six runs to stretch its lead to 9-2. The Lyons benefitted from four walks and a hit batsman during the inning, while sophomore Hadi Raad provided the key knock with a grand slam to right center.
The teams exchanged runs over the next inning and a half, with Phillips singling home a run for the Engineers and Raad following up Hal Landers' triple with an RBI single for the Lyons. Wheaton added another run in the sixth as Paul Malaguti drove a 1-2 pitch deep over the fence in right center.
David Nole hit a line drive single to center with two outs in the seventh that sliced MIT's deficit to 11-5, but that would be as close as the Engineers would get as Jon Shepard entered to record the last out of the game for Wheaton with a strikeout.
Senior Adam Gingras (4-0) worked six innings en route to the win, while giving up three earned runs and seven hits in addition to eight strikeouts. Sophomore Ryne Barry (1-1) endured the loss for the Engineers, while surrendering his first earned runs of the season.
The second game yielded a different start as starting pitchers Chris Vaughan and Louie Bernardini pitched well through the opening frames. Wheaton's Nick Pecora delivered the first score of the tilt with an RBI double in the third, while Landers added a run-scoring double in the fourth to give the Lyons a 2-0 lead.
Ahead 3-0, Wheaton took advantage of a pitching change and added two more runs in the seventh. Eric Laliberte drew a lead-off walk, while back-to-back hits, including a bunt single by Jeff Lieneck, loaded the bags. In the ensuing at bat, Sean Munley cracked a hard single to center to bring in two runs.
Things unraveled for MIT in the eighth as Wheaton scored nine runs before recording an out. Five singles, two walks and an error helped trigger the assault, while pinch hitter Sean Buckley authored the Lyons' second grand slam of the afternoon to give the visitors a 14-0 lead.
Phillips broke up the shutout bid in the bottom of the eighth with another bomb to right center.
Bernardini (3-0) enjoyed a masterful performance on the hill for Wheaton, pitching seven innings of scoreless ball while scattering four singles. Despite a strong start, Vaughan (1-2) shouldered the loss for the Engineers.