WPI Overwhelms MIT Baseball, 15-2

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Eighteen hits from ten different batters were too much for the MIT baseball team to handle, as WPI defeated the host Engineers in a 15-2 rout Thursday on Briggs Field. Looking for its second New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup victory, MIT was left stunned as the team’s record fell to 7-9 (1-6 NEWMAC) on the season, while WPI’s improved to 15-5 (6-3).

WPI opened the scoring in the first as junior Bryan Watkins reached with a lead-off single through the middle and senior Jameson Kokolis brought him around with a shot over the left field fence. With the first homer allowed on Briggs Field this season, the visiting Engineers took an early 2-0 lead.

In the next inning, senior Joe Walsh nailed one down the left field line and out of play for a ground-rule double. A double by Watkins sent Walsh home and a triple by sophomore Nick Bean scored Watkins, extending the WPI lead to 4-0.

The third inning brought more trouble for the host Engineers, as MIT starter Chris Hendrix allowed a single by senior Paul Galligan and a double by senior Mark Dignum with only one out. Cameron Brown entered to relive for Hendrix (0-3), who left the game with 1 strikeout, 0 walks and on the hook for two runners and the loss.

With Brown on the mound, hits by Mitch McClune, Walsh and Bean drove in four runners for WPI, opening their lead to a comfortable 8-0.

In the bottom of the third, MIT senior Stewart Park got on base with a single through the right side and advanced on a stolen base. Dan Hyatt lined a shot to third base and reached on error, scoring Park and putting MIT on the board, trailing 8-1.

Two scoreless innings followed. Brown continued pitching through the fifth, stringing seven straight ground-outs to close his tenure; sophomore Columbus Leonard took over pitching duties for MIT in the sixth.

In the seventh, a walk and two fielding errors quickly loaded the bases for WPI. With ducks on the pond, senior Cody McGregor doubled down the left field line, driving home two. Walsh, the next to bat, hit into a fielder’s choice, notching another RBI for the 11-1 lead.

WPI starter Thomas Whiting (2-0) finally retired after seven innings, tallying 3 strikeouts, 1 walk and only 1 run (0 earned) over 9 hits.

With senior Jason Forte on the mound, MIT’s Will Blackman doubled to lead off the inning. Three batters later, Bryan Macomber reached on error, bringing Blackman home for Tech’s second run. Forte had two strikeouts in the inning.

WPI kept up the pressure in the ninth. After an early fielding error, McClune, McGregor, Bean and Walsh made their way around the bases via hits from as McGregor, Watkins and John Flynn. WPI’s four runs gave them an insurmountable 15-2 advantage with one at-bat remaining for MIT.

Leonard, who pitched 4.0 innings, had 3 strikeouts, 2 walks and 7 runs (0 unearned) on the day.

Freshman Joe Wesoloski made his collegiate debut on the mound during the bottom of the ninth. After recording 1 strikeout, he gave up a hit but finished unscathed as a 6-4-3 double play sealed the win for WPI.

With the victory, WPI’s seniors become the winningest class in WPI history, logging an 85-51-1 record since 2007.

Both teams play again on Saturday, April 10, with MIT traveling to Coast Guard and WPI hosting Brandeis. Doubleheaders at both sites begin at 12 p.m.