WORCESTER, Mass. – After seeing its first three games of the season erased by bad weather, the MIT baseball team finally got the 2013 season started this afternoon with a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game at Clark University. Sophomore Eben Bitonte (Wichita, Kan.) led the game off with a home run and junior Kiel Jindra (Oceanside, Calif.) did not allow a hit in six innings, striking out eight as the Engineers held the Cougars to just one hit in a 4-1 victory.
After Bitonte opened the game with his shot to left center for MIT (1-0, 1-0 NEWMAC), it stayed 1-0 until the fourth when both squads pushed across a run. Junior Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah) led off the fourth by extending his hitting streak from last year to 18 games with a single to center. Sophomore Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) followed with a single to put two aboard. Mangrum then stole third and came around to score when the throw to third eluded the Clark third baseman.
Jindra was on his game in his first outing of the season, striking out the side in the first on his way to sitting down all nine hitters in order in his first trip through the Cougar lineup. The only run he surrendered was unearned and scored without a hit in the fourth. Nicholas O'Brien led off for Clark (4-7, 0-1 NEWMAC) and reached second when his fly to left was misplayed for an error. He was sacrificed to second and came around to score on Andrew Doolittle's RBI groundout to second to make it a 2-1 game.
MIT's pitching made the lead standup as Jindra, junior Rob Bertucci (Belleville, Ill.) and senior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.) combined for the one-hit shutout. After Jindra's standout performance over the first six innings, Bertucci worked out of a first and third, one-out jam in the seventh to finish with two scoreless innings that included a pair of strikeouts. Zhu finished things off by setting down the side in order in the ninth, striking out one to earn the save.
MIT struck for another pair of runs in the eighth to complete the scoring. Senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.) led off with a double and Mangrum brought him around with his second hit of the day, a single to left. He then advanced to third on a throwing error by the Clark pitcher and came home on a sac fly by Cornwell.
Matt Asdornvuttikrai picked up the only hit of the day for Clark, a one-out single off Bertucci in the eighth. Andrew LeBlanc started and took the loss for the Cougars, going seven innings and giving up four hits and one earned run while striking out nine.
With MIT's home field still not in game shape, the two teams will finish their conference series tomorrow at Clark with a doubleheader starting at Noon.