April 5, 2010

Baseball Rallies to Edge Suffolk in Extra Innings

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After trailing 4-0 in the seventh inning, the MIT baseball team scored 5 unanswered runs to defeat non-conference opponent Suffolk University 5-4 in an extra-inning thriller Monday on Briggs Field. With the win, the Engineers move to 6-8 on the year, while the loss evens the Rams at 9-9.

Suffolk struck first blood in the top of the third inning. Junior Nick Travelyn led off with a single and advanced to third on a grounder and stolen base. Freshman Chris Stanley picked up an RBI with a single to right field, driving in Travelyn and putting the Rams up 1-0.

In the sixth, Suffolk opened up the lead as senior Rory Gentile started the inning with a single and later slipped to third on a fielding error. Senior Bobby Barrett scored Gentile on a grounder, while classmate Marc Doyle picked up another RBI with one of his four hits on the day. Freshman Jhonneris Mendez slid a grounder through the middle to score a third run for the Rams, giving them a 4-0 lead. Freshman Aric Dama left the mound after the inning, notching 2 strikeouts and 2 walks to accompany his 4 runs (3 earned).

MIT’s seventh-inning response began with singles from freshman Ricardo Perez and junior William Blackman. A sacrifice bunt by sophomore Bryan Macomber set up an RBI-grounder for sophomore A.J. Hansborough to narrow the lead to 4-1, breaking a streak of fifteen scoreless runs for the Engineers. Suffolk pitcher Andrew Babb left the game after seven, striking out 2, with 4 walks and 1 earned run.

Columbus Leonard pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the Engineers, allowing only one hit in the seventh and eighth.

Tech’s rally continued in the bottom of the eighth when reliever Chris Campbell threw two walks in his first batters faced. Sophomore Charles Kilgore entered the game to break the momentum, but after another walk loaded the bases, Perez doubled to right center, driving two home. Blackman, next at bat, reached on error and brought in the tying run.

As the inning continued, the Engineers had runners on first and third with only one out and the score tied at 4-4. Looking to escape trouble, Suffolk capitalized on an MIT miscue when catcher Mark Annese successfully ran down pinch runner Sean Fannin on third.

The Rams’ closer Mendez, who had moved to the mound from third, closed out the inning two batters later, and solid pitching in the ninth took the game to extra innings.

Suffolk managed to get two runners on base in the top of the tenth, but MIT closer Henry Zhu left them stranded.

In the bottom of the inning, junior Ryne Barry came through for the Cardinal and Gray, leading off with a single to right field. Fannin’s sacrifice bunt and a single from Blackman pushed Barry to third with one out. In MIT’s second walk-off in 4 days, Macomber closed out the game with a shot to right center, bringing home Barry and the 5-4 win.

After two run-less innings, Zhu (2-0) lowered his season ERA to 0.68. Mendez (3-2) was credited with the loss after two innings thrown with 1 strikeout, 1 walk and 1 run.

The Engineers look to pick up their first conference win when they play again on Tuesday, April 6, hosting NEWMAC rival Springfield College. The Rams next travel to Roger Williams College for a non-conference game on Wednesday, April 7. Both games begin at 3:30 p.m.