CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth, MIT saw freshman Kendall Helbert (St. Louis, Mo.) tie the game with a two-run home run that set the stage for senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.) to get the walk-off hit as his single in the bottom of the 11th lifted the Engineers to a 4-3 win over UMass Boston.
MIT (21-7) took an early lead when sophomore Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.) led off the game with a double. With one out he stole second and then came around to score when the throw to third ended up in left field for an error.
MIT put the first two aboard in the second, but UMass Boston (13-17) starter, senior Michael Boughton (New Britain, Conn.), responded by striking out the next two hitters and getting the final out on a foul fly to right. He stranded runners in each of the first four innings, but kept the Engineers from getting the big hit. He then retired the side in the fifth and sixth, and finished with just the one run against him in six innings on four hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Sophomore K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn.) matched Boughton over the first four innings for MIT before running into trouble in the fifth. A pair of base hits and a walk loaded the bases for the Beacons for sophomore Bryan Failla (Torrington, Conn.) who doubled to the fence in left. The first two runners scored easily, but the third was gunned down at the plate by Tew's relay to Helbert to keep it a one-run contest.
Neither team scored again until the ninth. UMass Boston received a leadoff single from freshman Nick Radcliffe (Randolph, Mass.), who then stole second with one out. Freshman Michael Wymer (Flower Mound, Texas) struck out the next hitter, but Failla came up big again for the Beacons, singling to center to score what looked to be an insurance run.
With one out in the bottom of the inning, sophomore Phil Reiser (Alpharetta, Ga.) singled into hole between short and third, bringing up Helbert. He lofted a drive into left center that carried over the wall for his first collegiate home run and sent the game into extra innings.
Both teams had runners on in the 10th but were unable to score. Senior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.) came on to pitch the 11th for MIT, and gave up just a one-out single to give the Engineers another chance in the bottom half of the inning. Helbert was key again for MIT as he led off with a single to right and then moved to second on a sacrifice. Sophomore Steve Roche (Worcester, Mass.), the fifth Beacon pitcher of the day, struck out the next hitter before McKinney slapped his hit to left to bring Helbert home with the winning run.
Zhu picked up the win with his one inning of work, while Roche was tagged with the loss, giving up the one run on two hits over 1.2 innings. Failla drove in all three runs for UMass Boston with his two hits, while Radcliffe went 3-for-5 and scored twice for the Beacons. Helbert also finished 3-for-5 for MIT, including a double and a home run.
MIT will play next at the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference Tournament where the No. 2 seeded Engineers will play No. 3 seed Babson at Babson on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. UMass Boston will host Plymouth State in a Little East doubleheader on Saturday starting at Noon.