WORCESTER, Mass. – MIT continued to produce some strong pitching at the start of the season and combined it with some timely hitting as the Engineers scored a 4-1, 13-2 sweep of Clark University in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference baseball action this afternoon. In game one junior Jon Rea (Palo Alto, Calif.) drove in a pair of runs and senior Aric Dama (Winfield, Ill.) threw 5.2 innings of one-run ball to lead MIT to the victory. Junior Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah) drove in three runs and senior Max Ockner (Chesterfield, Mo.) struck out six in five innings to pace the Engineers in game two. Due to poor field conditions in Cambridge, Clark hosted the doubleheader with MIT playing as the home team.
Clark (4-9, 0-3 NEWMAC) struck first in game one when the Cougars loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a hit batter. With two down Christopher Dibble slapped an RBI single to left to plate the first run of the game. Dama, however, was able to escape further trouble when in he got a pop up to second from the next batter to end the threat. MIT (3-0, 3-0 NEWMAC) answered in the bottom of the inning, tying the game after Mangrum led off with a single, stole second, and came around on an RBI base hit from sophomore Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.). The Engineers chased starter Michael Mainuli after a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases with two away. David Balme came in for Clark, and Rea greeted him with a single to right that scored a pair.
Senior Ricardo Perez (Vienna, Va.) completed the MIT scoring with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth. The Engineer pitching staff took care of the rest, as Dama allowed just one run on six hits while striking out four without a walk to pick up the victory. Senior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.) retired the side in order in the seventh to earn his second save in as many games.
After banging out 11 hits in game one, the MIT offense kept it going in game two with 14, this time plating runs in five innings. After a pair of scoreless frames to start the contest, the Engineers picked their first run in the third on a sac fly from Cornwell. MIT then put the game away with four spots in each of the next two innings. In the fourth the Engineers started things off with a one-out triple by sophomore Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.), who scored on a ground out by sophomore Karl Sorensen (Blacksburg, Va.). Later, with runners on second and third, senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.) singled to short to bring home both runs and then scored himself on a Mangrum double to left.
In the fifth MIT picked up a runs on an RBI double by freshman Nate Rodman (Corvallis, Ore.) and an RBI single from Tew before sophomore Eben Bitonte (Wichita, Kan.) homered for the second time in three games, launching a two-run shot to left that made it 9-0.
On the mound senior Max Ockner (Chesterfield, Mo.) started and continued the strong starting pitching for the Engineers over the weekend by holding Clark scoreless for his five innings on four hits while striking out six. Freshman Nicholas Locascio (Naples, Fla.) was also impressive, going three innings and allowing just one hit.
MIT's offense continued to crank out the runs, plating one in the sixth and three more in the seventh when Mangrum and sophomore Reid Bishop (Cypress, Texas) laced back-to-back, run-scoring doubles, with Mangrum's plating a pair.
Clark finally broke through in the ninth when Daniel Lima hit an RBI double off of junior Tim Wilson (Nacogdoches, Texas) and Christopher Dibble adding a sac fly. It was too little, too late for the Cougars, however, as MIT cruised home with the victory.
Rae, who was 3-for-3 in the first game, finished with a 4-for-6 afternoon with two RBI and a run. Perez also picked up four hits, driving in one and scoring twice. Mangrum, who upped his hitting streak to 20 games going back to last season, had three hits and three RBI for MIT. Dibble led Clark with a pair of RBI, while Zachary Richall led the Cougars with three hits on the day.
MIT will move out of conference for its next contest, playing at home against Amherst College on March 19 at 3:30 p.m. on Briggs Field.