BROOKLINE, Mass. – With the regular season New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference baseball title on the line, MIT and No. 11 Wheaton hooked up in a pitching duel in the final game of the conference season. The two teams combined for just seven hits, with the Lyons scoring the only runs of the game before holding off a ninth inning Engineer rally to take a 2-0 victory. Freshman Nicholas Locascio (Naples, Fla.) allowed five hits and two runs and struck out eight without issuing a walk in taking the tough loss. The game was played at Northeastern's Parsons Field due to the memorial service today at MIT for Officer Sean Collier of the MIT Police who was killed in the line of duty last Thursday night.
Nik Filloramo matched Locascio virtually pitch for pitch for Wheaton (24-10, 14-4 NEWMAC), allowing just a pair of hits over 7.1 innings while striking out six and walking just one. He received all the run support that he would need in the first when Matt Lavanchy tripled to right center to lead off the game, scoring when the next hitter, Eric Jensen, bounced out to second.
After that Locascio allowed just a single in the second to Paul O'Neill before allowing a pair of base hits in the fifth that led to the second run for the Lyons. Tyler Contillo and O'Neill picked up the singles, with Contillo making it to third on O'Neill's hit to put runners on the corners with no outs. Justin Peluso then laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored Contillo to make it 2-0.
MIT (20-7, 13-5 NEWMAC) could not get anything going against Filloramo as he allowed just a first inning infield single to junior Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah) and single to freshman Nate Rodman (Corvallis, Ore.) in the second. A one-out walk in the eighth ended his day, bringing in Eric Dumas from the pen who got a fielder's choice and a strikeout to end the inning.
Wheaton could muster just the two runs against Locascio as he set down 13 straight after O'Neill's hit. The next base runner against him came in the ninth when he gave up a one-out single to Sean Ryan. MIT (20-7, 13-5) then went to its bullpen and junior Brandon Lowe (Brier, Wash.) and freshman Michael Wymer (Flower Mound, Texas) came on to get an out each to shutdown any potential rally and give the Engineers a chance in the bottom half of the inning.
Wheaton's closer, Ryan Grant, came on to finish it off but immediately ran into trouble when he hit sophomore Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and walked senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.) to start the inning. Grant picked up a fielder's choice grounder off the bat of Mangrum that erased McKinney at second, but then hit sophomore Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) to load the bases. He got out of the jam and picked up the save, however, when he got senior Ricardo Perez (Vienna, Va.) to hit a sharp grounder to short that the Lyons turned into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
With the win Wheaton will be the No. 1 seed for the NEWMAC Tournament and will host No 4 seed Coast Guard on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. MIT will be the No. 2 seed and play No. 3 seed Babson at Babson on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The two winners and the two losers will then play again on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Before Saturday MIT will play a non-conference game, hosting UMass-Boston tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. on Briggs Field. Wheaton will also have a game tomorrow, hosting Eastern Connecticut State at 3:30 p.m.