8th Inning Rally Lifts Baseball over Springfield
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – With a four-run eighth inning, the MIT baseball team came from behind to defeat New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) rival Springfield College, 5-4, to pick up its first conference win Tuesday on Briggs Field. The victory brings the Engineers’ record to 7-8 (1-5 NEWMAC) while Springfield drops to 9-11 (2-4 NEWMAC) on the year.
Springfield wasted no time getting on the board, striking in the first. With men on first and second, junior Brian Harris singled to left and, coupled with a defensive error, brought two runners home to put the Pride up 2-0.
MIT responded in the second when junior Brian Doyle doubled down the left field line, giving sophomore Bryan Macomber a chance to score from second and narrow the lead to 2-1.
The next four innings were quiet as neither team managed to get a run on the board thanks to solid pitching courtesy of senior Ryan White on the mound for Springfield and freshman Max Ockner for MIT.
In the seventh, a lead-off single by Springfield’s Peter Clandra and a walk by Ockner put two runners on base. Junior John Schmaltz—who hit 5 for 5 on the day—launched a shot deep to right field, and an unusual bounce carried the over the fence for a ground-rule double, scoring Clandra and extending the lead to 3-1.
Both starters were replaced after 6.1 innings. White threw 3 strikeouts with 4 walks and 1 run, while Ockner tossed 4 strikeouts to go with his 1 walk and 3 runs (2 earned).
Familiar with playing from behind, the Engineers kept their composure and mounted a rally in the eighth. Senior Stewart Park singled to lead the inning before Springfield reliever Chris Collard retired the next two batters. A fielding error scored Park and put sophomore Torre Swanson on first—an omen of the momentum shifting in MIT’s favor.
Consecutive hits by William Blackman, Bryan Macomber, Doyle and A.J. Hansborough brought in three more runs, giving the Engineers the lead at 5-3. Closer Adam DeFelice took to the mound and closed out the inning for the Pride, leaving Collard (2-1) responsible for 4 runs (0 earned) and on the hook for the loss.
Springfield’s Mike Corletta led the ninth with a double to right, and Schmaltz followed with an RBI single up the middle, closing the lead to 5-4 and putting the game-tying run on first. Henry Zhu entered the game to pitch for MIT, and though he gave up a single to Harris, a double play and ground-out closed out the inning, giving Tech its first conference win.
Barry (1-0) received his first win of the season despite dropping 1 walk and 1 run in 1.2 innings. Zhu tallied his second save.
In its seven wins, MIT has trailed in five games, scoring the go-ahead run in its last inning at-bat on three occasions.
Springfield is back on the field Wednesday, April 7, when it travels to non-conference opponent Eastern Connecticut State University for a 4 p.m. game. The Engineers continue NEWMAC play on Thursday, April 8, when they host WPI at 3:30 p.m.