CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Down two runs with bases loaded, two outs and a full count, MIT senior Stewart Park rose to the occasion, hitting a three-run double for a 6-5, walk-off win over visiting Brandeis University in non-conference baseball action Friday on Briggs Field. With the win, the Engineers rose to 5-6 (0-3 NEWMAC) on the season, while the Judges slid to 7-11 (1-4 UAA) on the year.
After a scoreless first inning, MIT was first to get on the board in the second. Senior Dan Hyatt led with a double off the left-field fence, followed by an RBI single from freshman Ricardo Perez. Freshman Aric Dama added another single before sophomore Torre Swanson cleared the bases with a two-RBI double just out of reach of sophomore centerfielder Zach Malis, putting the Engineers up 3-0.
Brandeis scored its first run in the 5th, when Malis sent a sac-fly to deep center field, allowing senior John O’Brion to sneak home and narrow the lead to two.
The Judges got their momentum going in the seventh, when O’Brion and seniors Artie Posch and James Likis hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with none out. MIT pitcher Ryne Barry tallied a strikeout and forced a fly on the next two batters, but his escape was foiled by Brandeis freshman Chris Ferro, who slipped a shot down the left-field line to bring in two runners and tie the game, 3-3.
Brandeis took the lead in the eighth, after MIT reliever Columbus Leonard dropped a run on an RBI double to junior Tony Deshler. Sensing trouble, the Engineers brought out closer Henry Zhu with the bases loaded and one out. Likis brought home senior Drake Livada with a sacrifice bunt, giving the Judges a 5-3 lead that they carried into the ninth.
MIT’s storybook ending was setup by three singles from MIT freshman Ricardo Perez, sophomore Zach Carr, and freshman James McKinney. The Judges brought senior Kyle Ritchie to face the would-be final batter, and after a series of tense pitches, Park nailed a hit to center field for 3 RBI’s and the 6-5 victory.
Brandeis pitcher Josh McGrath threw for 6.1 innings, dropping 3 runs while notching 4 strikeouts and 2 walks. Reliever Nick Pollack (0-1) received the loss after letting 3 runs score in 2.1 innings with two strikeouts.
Barry totaled 7 innings thrown for the Engineers with 3 runs, 3 strikeouts and 1 walk. Leonard tallied two runs and only one out, while Zhu (1-0) picked up his first win on a scoreless 1.2 innings pitched, lowering his season ERA to 0.84 over 10.2 innings.
MIT takes the field again Saturday, April 3, against the Beavers of Babson College, in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. The Judges also play Saturday in a non-conference doubleheader against Clark University, beginning at 11 a.m.