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Baseball Plagued by Inconsistent Performances

By Danny Su
Staff Reporter

The MIT baseball team is anything but consistent. After a tough 5-4 loss in extra innings to Division I team Boston College last week, the team seemed to be heading in the right direction as they crushed Wentworth 12-2 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday. It looked like MIT would run away in the second game as they jumped to a 4-0 lead after the first inning, highlighted by a bases-loaded double courtesy of Ian Somerville '93. But the team took a vacation from there on, both defensively and offensively. The team played charity give-away on the field while runners never made it as far as third base in the next four innings. MIT's comeback attempt was foiled when Wentworth broke the tie in the extra inning with five consecutive base hits. The final score was Wentworth 10, MIT 6.

With MIT trailing 6-4 in the fifth inning, Eric Hopkins '92 relieved Nate Ritter '93. Hopkins did a fine job of relief. His unorthodox sidearm delivery seemed to baffle hitters as he retired eight of the first ten batters he faced, giving up only two Texas-leaguers to the opposite field. But his luck ran out the second time around the batting order. With two outs in the eighth inning, the outfield was instructed to play deep to guard against extra-base hits. Wentworth dropped what seemed like a harmless blooper that just eluded the outstretched glove of centerfielder Jeff Olson '94. But the opportunistic Wentworth turned the blooper into a two-out rally as they put together four more hits, including a ground rule double, for a 9-6 lead. They received another insurance run when MIT committed its fifth error of the game.

Down 6-5 in the bottom half of the seventh inning, MIT made a valiant comeback. Mike Purucker '92 atoned for his early fielding mistake by leading off with a base hit. After a successful sacrifice, Dan Sabanosh '94 knocked in the tying run with a solid base hit to left field and reached second when the left fielder misplayed the ball. Wentworth decided to walk Brian Christensen '94, a left-handed batter, who faced their southpaw. Then Wentworth brought in a righty, their shortstop, to pitch against Somerville, who had doubled earlier in the game. The substitution was a questionable move on a day when the temperature was around 40 degrees and a new pitcher is allowed only eight warmup pitches. But the decision paid off as the new pitcher retired the next two batters to send the game into extra innings.

MIT's charity contributions were generous and frequent. Two errors led directly to Wentworth's first run in the second inning. But Purucker saved the inning when he made a nice sliding catch in the outfield for the final out. MIT surrendered the lead in the third inning when a costly two-out error led to two more unearned runs. With the score tied at 4 in the fifth inning, the visitors had two on and two outs. Wentworth's number seven hitter hit a line drive into right field. With the wind blowing out, the ball refused to die and carried further than expected. The right fielder misjudged the ball and was turned the wrong way. He finally adjusted, only to miss the catch by inches. The two-run triple gave Wentworth the lead and sent Ritter into the showers.

Olson made it a one-run game in the bottom of the sixth when his clutch two-out single brought in Brian Pendleton '94, who had walked to lead off the inning. But the inning ended when Olson was caught stealing, the second MIT runner gunned down by Wentworth's catcher.