CAMBRIDGE, Mass. –It was a pitchers duel today at Briggs Field between MIT and No. 24 Wheaton College, one that saw the Lyons edge the Engineers, 2-1, in the opener of a three-game New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball series. Senior Max Ockner (Chesterfield, Mo.) and freshman Michael Bruemmel (Bridgewater, Mass.) started on the mound for MIT and Wheaton, with the pair combining to allow just one earned run over eight innings.
Both teams got their leadoff hitters on base in the first inning, with sophomore Jimmy Smith (Worcester, Mass.) singling for Wheaton (24-8-1, 13-3 NEWMAC) and freshman John Drago (Peoria, Ariz.) doubling for MIT (14-10, 10-5 NEWMAC). Neither came around to score, as Smith was erased on a double play and Drago called out for leaving third to early when he attempted to score on a fly out.
Drago turned out to be the last base runner for MIT until the eighth inning as Bruemmel retired the next 20 hitters he faced after the leadoff hit, striking out eight of nine at one point. The Lyons picked up their first run in the second when three straight singles loaded the bases with one out. Junior Zach Horton (North Attleboro, Mass.) then grounded out to short, plating the first run of the game.
After there was one down in the third, errors on balls put in play by the next three hitters led to another Wheaton run. After two miscues put runners on first and third, sophomore Matt Lavanchy (Walpole, Mass.) hit into what looked to be a double play, but after the first out was recorded at second, the throw to first got away allowing the run to score.
Wheaton threatened to break the game open in the seventh, loading the bases with no outs on a walk and consecutive singles. But Ockner pitched out of the jam, getting the next hitter to line into a double play to first and the last on a grounder to first to keep it a two-run game.
Junior Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) broke the streak of 20 straight hitters retired by Bruemmel when he led off the eighth with a shot into the hole at short that he beat out for an infield single. Junior K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn.) then followed with a base hit to put two on. With one down senior Sean Karson (Orlando, Fla.) hit a grounder to third, but the throw to first was over the head of the first baseman allowing Cornwell to score.
MIT threatened again in the ninth. Senior Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass.) came in to close it out for the Lyons, but hit Drago to start the inning. After Drago was sacrificed to second, Grant pitched around senior Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah), walking him to bring up Cornwell. The move worked as Cornwell hit a ground ball to third that was turned into a double play to end the game.
Bruemmel went eight innings to improve to 5-2, giving up just the one unearned run on three hits while striking out 11 without issuing a walk. Ockner went 8.2 innings, giving up seven hits while striking out three and walking a pair. Grant picked up his eighth save of the season with his inning of work for the Lyons.
MIT and Wheaton will conclude their series tomorrow, with the Lyons hosting the Engineers for a doubleheader starting at 12:00 p.m.