CLERMONT, Fla. – Fresh off a split with WPI in its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener, the MIT softball team traveled to Florida for its annual Spring Break trip. The Engineers had their chances in a number of games but were only able to come home with one win, a 9-1 triumph over Grinnell on Monday afternoon.
In its first game of the southern swing, the Cardinal and Gray took on D'Youville College. After a three-run first by the Spartans, Tech responded with four runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Emily Creedon drew a leadoff walk and eventually came home on a double-steal. Starting pitcher, Jessica Iacobucci drove in a pair of runs and was knocked in by Leah Alpert's base hit. The score would remain 4-3 until the seventh inning, as MIT came within one out of starting its spring break off on the right foot. Shannon Evans led off with a base hit and came home on a Danielle Phillips triple. Kristie Ryan reached base on an infield hit and stole second before Shannon Sutton eventually brought home the winning runs with a two-out single. Nydia Ruleman walked to give MIT hope in the home half of the seventh but pinch-runner Maia Bageant was doubled off first after a line drive to end the game.
The disappointment from game one carried over to the Engineers' second game of the day against St. Thomas, as the Tommies struck for nine runs in the first inning en route to a 10-1 win.
The Tech bats came alive on Monday, March 21 as the Cardinal and Gray exploded for 11 hits and nine runs to defeat Grinnell, 9-1. Keri Dixon reached base all four times in the game, scored twice and drove in four runs during the win. Jessica Oleinik picked up the win in the circle, throwing five innings while giving up just five hits and striking out four.
MIT's rally against New Paltz St. came up short on Tuesday afternoon, as the Engineers fell, 9-7. After spotting the Hawks a 5-0 lead through three innings, Tech started to rally, with seven runs over the final four frames. Ruleman and Oleinik drove in runs with a pair of doubles during a four-run fourth to pull MIT within one at 7-6. After New Paltz plated two more in the sixth, the Engineers tried to mount one final comeback in the final stanza. Emily Creedon drew a leadoff walk and was driven in by Jenny Li before Iacobucci grounded out with the tying runs aboard. Oleinik went three-for-four with a pair of RBI's in the loss and Ruleman reached base four times, scoring twice.
The Engineers suffered 6-1 and 7-2 setbacks to the University of Scranton and Mount Vernon Nazarene, respectively, before finishing their trip with a pitchers' duel against Mount Mercy College. Despite allowing just three hits over six innings, Iacobucci was the hard-luck loser during a 2-1 defeat. Trailing 2-0 in the fifth inning, Katie Harrington was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Dixon's single. Harrington then had a chance to play the role of hero in the sixth, as she came to the plate with runners on second and third, but was retired on a grounder to short to end the threat. MIT was set down in order in the seventh inning to close out its trip with a ledger of one win and seven losses.
The Cardinal and Gray will return to New England and conference play this weekend with a pair of NEWMAC doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. Tech hosts Babson College on Friday, March 25 at 3:00 p.m. and takes on Smith College at Briggs Field on Saturday at noon.