CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT broke open a one-run game with five runs in the eighth inning as the No. 2 seeded Engineers took an 8-2 win over No. 3 seed Babson College in a opening round game of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference baseball tournament at Babson. Moving on to play No. 1 seed Wheaton, the Engineers saw an early 5-0 lead get away as the Lyons came back to score an 11-8 win.
Senior Max Ockner (Chesterfield, Mo.) started for MIT (22-8) against Babson and did not allow a hit over the first three innings. The Beavers broke through in the fourth when its first two hitters reached on a single and a fielder's choice. Ockner retired the next two hitters, but George Crowl drove one to the warning track in right for a two-run double to put the Babson on top.
Playing as the home team, MIT answered in its half of the inning. Sophomore Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.) led off with a home run down the line in left, the first hit off of Michael Bort, who had set down the first nine hitters in order. Senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.) then walked, moving over to third when Bort's pickoff attempt got past the first baseman. Senior Ricardo Perez (Vienna, Va.) then knotted things up at 2-all with a sac fly to center.
MIT took the lead for good in the seventh when sophomore Karl Sorensen (Blacksburg, Va.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, moving to second on a sacrifice. McKinney then brought him in with a two-out single to left. The Engineers broke it open in the eighth, getting base hits from the first three hitters, with Perez bringing in his second run of the game with a single to center. Sophomore K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn.) and McKinney each added two-run singles to make it 8-2.
Junior Rob Bertucci (Belleville, Ill.) game on to pitch in the sixth and went 2.2 innings for the Engineers, allowing just one hit to record the victory.
With the victory MIT moved on to play No. 1 seed Wheaton on the Lyons home field. The Engineers struck first in the third when they loaded the bases with nobody out on a walk and a pair of singles. Tew brought in the first run with a fielders choice before McKinney lofted a sac fly to center to plate another. Junior Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah) finished things off with a single to center that scored Tew and made it 3-0.
MIT extended its lead to 5-0 in the fourth when Parent singled with one down and junior Jon Rea (Palo Alto, Calif.) doubled down the line in left to put runners on second and third. McKinney then continued his big day, raping a two-out double to center to score both runners.
MIT's starter, senior Aric Dama (Winfield, Ill.), retired the first nine Wheaton hitters before the Lyons got to him in the fourth. Wheaton started the inning with a walk that was followed by a double from Eric Jensen to break the Lyons onto the scoreboard. After a single moved Jensen to third, he scored on Apolinar De la Cruz's base hit to make it 5-2. Wheaton then loaded the bases on a bunt single for Paul O'Neill who plated another run with a sac fly. Justin Peluso then added an RBI single to make it a one-run game.
After MIT got one run back in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Parent, Wheaton took the lead for good with six runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Lyons collected seven hits in the inning, sending 10 hitters to the plate. Peluso's second straight RBI single tied the game and Sean Ryan delivered two runs to cap off the uprising with a single to make it 10-6.
MIT loaded the bases again in the seventh and came away with two runs, one on an RBI single by freshman Kendall Helbert (St. Louis, Mo.) and the other when Rea hit into a double play to make it 10-8. It was as close as MIT would get however, as Wheaton added an insurance run in the eighth and saw closer Ryan Grant set down the Engineers in order in the ninth to preserve the win for Wheaton.
With one loss, MIT is still alive in the double elimination tournament and will play Babson at Wheaton next Saturday at 1:00 p.m. with the winner taking on Wheaton at 3:30 p.m. Prior to that the Engineers will play next at Brandeis on Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.