Baseball Splits With Wheaton to Clinch NEWMAC Tourney Berth

Baseball Splits With Wheaton to Clinch NEWMAC Tourney Berth

THE BASICS:

- Score: Game One: Wheaton 5, MIT 4; Game Two: MIT 6, Wheaton 5 

- Records: MIT (16-10-1, 9-7 NEWMAC); Wheaton (22-9, 12-4 NEWMAC)

- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Fran O'Brien Field)

- The Lead: Earning a split with division-leading Wheaton College on Sunday afternoon, the MIT baseball team clinched a berth in the NEWMAC Tournament in the final conference home games of the season. Wheaton took game one by a 5-4 final, while the Engineers rallied for the 6-5 win in the nightcap.

Game One
HOW IT HAPPENED:

- In the top of the first, Josh LaJoie led off with a single up the middle and later came home on a sacrifice fly from Jared Sharkey for the 1-0 edge. MIT loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame before Wheaton starter Brady Furdon got out of the jam.

- The Engineers did get on the board with two out in the fifth though with a four-run rally, started with a homer to left by junior Austin Filiere (Chandler, Ariz.). The homer was the ninth of the season for Filiere. Up next was freshman Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.), who nearly homered himself as he drilled a ball off the top of the wall in left center for a double. Junior Kyler Kocher (Mesa, Ariz.) drove Johnston in with a single through the hole at shortstop, followed by a two-run homer to left just inside the foul pole by junior Max Lancaster (Attleboro, Mass.) for the 4-1 lead.

- Wheaton answered back in a big way in the top of the sixth though, beginning with a deep three-run homer to right by Zach Goodwin-Boyd to tie the game at 4-4. MIT sophomore Jack Murphy (Pleasanton, Calif.) came on in relief of starter Patrick Callahan (Vicksburg, Mich.) with one out and runners on second and third. After a walk loaded the bases, a two-out walk scored Tyler Walsh to regain the lead with the eventual game-winning run.

- MIT threatened in the eighth with two outs after a double to right center by junior Garrett Greenwood (Edmond, Okla.), bringing on Wheaton closer Patrick McGeehan. After a strikeout ended the eighth, McGeehan picked up two more K's in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the victory and earn his third save of the season.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Callahan took the loss for MIT, dropping to 4-1 after giving up five runs on four hits with three strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work. Joe Bongiovanni earned the win to move to 3-0 overall as he threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to go along with three strikeouts.

-  Greenwood and Kocher each finished with two hits in game one, while Lancaster had a team-best two runs batted in. 

Game Two
HOW IT HAPPENED:

- Lajoie led off the game with a double off the left center field fence to get the lead runner on for the Lyons for the second straight game. Later in the inning, Greenwood made a diving catch in center for the second out, followed by the Engineers catching Wheaton leaving early from third as MIT stepped on the base to end the inning.

- MIT got on the board with a pair in the fourth as Filiere led off the inning with a single up the middle. After a Johnston double to the deepest part of the field in right center, Kocher eventually brought home Filiere on a sacrifice fly for the 1-0 lead. Johnston scored for the 2-0 lead as Lancaster also doubled to right center for the RBI.

- The Engineers tied the game with an unearned run in the sixth as sophomore Jared Schwait (Boca Raton, Fla.) singled into shallow left to score senior John Drago (Peoria, Ariz.). Drago reached on a throwing error to start the inning.

- Tommy Larason came on to pitch for Wheaton in the bottom of the seventh in relief of starter Dan Southerland and was immediately greeted by a line-drive, two-run homer to right by Filiere to put MIT back in front by a 5-3 margin. Drago closed out the MIT scoring later in the inning as he doubled off the right center field wall to score Lancaster for the 6-3 lead.

- In the eighth, freshman Zachary Kopstein (Tiburon, Calif.) came into the game in the save situation with a runner on first. After the bases became loaded, Goodwin-Boyd scored on a wild pitch and Walsh came home on a groundout to second before the final out of the inning made it 6-5 heading to the ninth.

- In the ninth, Kopstein got two quick outs before Wheaton put two runners on. He ended the game with a swinging strikeout of Walsh though for the final out and the playoff berth for the Engineers.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Filiere led the MIT offense with a 3-for-5 showing with two runs scored and two RBI, while Lancaster and Drago each had a pair of hits. Greenwood was 1-for-5 in the leadoff spot for MIT, while also making a number of spectacular plays in center. On the other side, LaJoie had a solid game with a 3-for-5 performance as three Lyons had multiple hits.

- In the no-decision, starter David Hesslink (San Diego, Calif.) went six innings on 105 pitches as he scattered eight hits with three runs and six strikeouts. Freshman Tony Rice (Colorado Springs, Colo.) earned the win for MIT in one inning of relief, improving to 3-0 overall, while Kopstein earned his second save of the year with two innings of three-hit relief. Larason took the loss for Wheaton to fall to 5-2 as he allowed three runs in just 1.1 innings of work.

- Filiere has now reached base in 56 straight games, which is the fourth-longest streak in NCAA Division III history.

UP NEXT:

- MIT is back in action on Sunday, April 23rd as the Engineers travel to Wheaton College for the final game of the three-game series beginning at 4 p.m. in Norton.

STAY CONNECTED:

- For the latest on MIT Athletics, follow the Engineers via social media on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Garrett Greenwood and Zachary Kopstein Discuss the Sunday Split With Wheaton and the NEWMAC Tournament Berth!