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Baseball defeats Salve Regina

By Shawn Mastrian

Despite three late season losses, at the hands of Curry College, Suffolk University, and Brandeis University, the baseball team still remains in the hunt for a playoff spot. The team was notified that they were among six teams fighting for the final two spots going into yesterday's game against Salve Regina (another one of these six teams). The Engineers improved their chances of competing in post-season play for the first time since 1974 by beating the Newporters, 4-1, and now they await word from the selection committee.

The Suffolk game started out with the Rams bolting out to a 4-0 lead after four innings. This should come as a surprise to no one, since it is customary for the Engineers to stake their opposition an early lead before mounting a late-inning charge. Sloppy fielding was to blame this time, as all four runs were unearned.

Fran Patterson '89 pitched for the Engineers, and performed credibly when his defense supported him. The deficit would have been much worse, but he worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first and struck out two straight batters to end a threat in the third.

MIT was unable to produce offensively against the Rams. Head coach Fran O'Brien juggled his lineup around, but he apparently did not find the right combination. For the game, the Engineers beat out eight hits, and they also managed to draw seven walks. All of the hits, however, were of the one-base variety, which limited MIT's scoring ability.

The Engineers finally scored in the fifth. David Cote '89 started the inning by walking (he walked three out of the four times he was at bat). Mike Purucker '92 moved him to second with a single to left. Pillan Thirumalaisamy '90 then attempted to sacrifice the runners over, and was safe at first when Purucker beat out the pitcher's throw to second.

The bases were loaded, with none out, for Mike Murray '90. Murray, who had all three of the Engineers' RBIs on the day, drove in Cote with a sacrifice fly. Tim Day '89 flied out to center, but then Mike Griffin '90 was hit by a pitch to reload the bases. However Tim Collins '89 struck out, and the rally was held to just the one run.

MIT went right back on the attack in the sixth inning. With two outs, Cote walked again, and Purucker singled him to second. Thirumalaisamy singled them both over one base with an infield hit, and Murray walked to force Cote home. Again, the Engineers left the bases loaded as Day popped out to the shortstop.

Suffolk scored another unearned run in the eighth to make the score 5-2. Eric Hopkins '92 came on in relief of Patterson and prevented worse damage from occuring.

MIT responded in the bottom half of the inning as Purucker reached second on an error and scored on a Murray hit. The offense fizzled, however, when three of the next five batters struck out, and the game ended 5-3.

In the Brandeis loss, pitching was the main problem. MIT pounded out 12 hits, including home runs from Day (his fourth of the season) and Scott Williams '91 (his third). Unfortunately, the Brandeis assault was too much for them and they lost 12-7.

Day is currently second in the Greater Boston League in hitting, according to the MIT Sports Information Office. The latest statistics show him batting .545 in league play and .449 overall.

The Salve Regina game was marked by good pitching. Through the first seven innings, the Engineers had only two hits, both by Steve Stoller '89, and one run, while striking out eleven times. The Newporters fared no better against Patterson, as he limited them to one run on four hits, with ten strikeouts.

MIT responded to the pressure by coming through with three runs in the bottom of the eighth. Stoller got his third hit with one out, moved to second on a Thirumalaisamy bunt hit, and scored as a Day grounder took a bad hop past the shortstop. Murray then put the game out of reach with a single to left, scoring Thirumalaisamy and Day.