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Baseball Opens Spring Season with Double Victories

Jiri Schindler--The Tech
First baseman Joel Morales '99 receives a throw from pitcher Wil Nielsen '98 to pick off a Springfield College player who was trying to steal second base in the first game if a doubleheader. MIT won both games, 6-3 and 9-7.

By Erik S. Balsley
sports editor

The baseball team opened their spring season with strong wins in both games of their doubleheader against Springfield College on Saturday. The first game was won 63 and the second 97.

The first seven-inning game started fairly slowly. Springfield was the first team to get a run on the board in the top of the third inning.

In the bottom of the third, catcher Paul Collins '98 doubled with no outs. Collins advanced to third after right fielder Baldemar Mejia '98 sacrificed with a ground ball to second base.

With one out, Steve Vetere '97 was next at bat. His fly ball to center field was caught but was enough to drive Collins home.

In the top of the fourth, Springfield had a triple which also brought one of their players home. Springfield was left with a player on third with no outs. Another player hit a ground ball down the third base line. It was picked up by third baseman Pete Gustafson '99 and thrown to Collins who tagged the player at third on his way home.

However, the umpire ruled that Collins had no control at the time of the tag and allowed the run. At the end of the inning, Springfield was up 31.

At the top of the fifth, starting pitcher Wil Nielsen '98 was replaced with Jason Szuminski '00. In the bottom of the fifth, the Engineers hit well to create a comfortable lead.

Sloppy pitching by Springfield started the Engineers' time at bat. Springfield walked second baseman Nik Batra '98. Collins was next at bat and his ground ball down the third base line let him take first.

Next, Mejia tipped the ball, which the catcher picked up and threw to first for the out, but MIT now found itself on second and third with one out.

Vetere then had a base hit to center field, which sent Batra and Collins home and brought the score to 33. Designated hitter Jaymee Johnson '99 then had a base hit to center field which put runners on first and second.

Next, first baseman Joel Morales '99 tipped the ball which was promptly thrown to first for MIT's second out, but the runners were able to advance to second and third.

Shortstop Eddie Rivas '97 followed with a triple, scoring Johnson and Vetere. The inning soon came to a close with MITleading 53.

The final run for MIT was scored in the sixth. With Stevens on third and Collins on first and one out, a long fly by Mejia to right field was caught. Stevens tagged up and ran home to give the Engineers another run and the 63 lead they kept for the rest of the game.

MITholds on to win second game

The second game began under ominous clouds. The game was played with a slightly different lineup than the first; the most notable change was that Morales pitched throughout the game.

Springfield struck first. In the top of the second, Springfield second baseman Jim Guido hit a three-run home run.

The Engineers tied it back up in the bottom on the second. Rivas and Gustafson were on first and second with one out when left fielder Ryan Balter '99 belted a home run, which evened the score at 33.

Springfield earned another run in the third to produce a one-run lead. However, MITonce again evened the score as soon as possible. A center field double by first baseman Ethan Goetz '00 allowed Vetere to run home to even the score at 44.

Throughout the next two innings MITsteadily built up a large lead. Collins had a triple in the fourth, and a hit by Mejia to left field allowed Collins to run home for a 54 lead. At the same time, Mejia attempted to advance to second but was tagged at the base.

The Engineers secured their victory in the fifth inning. Designated hitter David Phio '00 was at third and Rivas was first after being walked, when Balter drove in Phio and Rivas with a base hit to bring the score to 75.

After the play was finished, a torrential downpour fell upon the field and play was halted. For a while it looked as if the game would be canceled altogether. The rain eventually stopped, and the umpires decided the field was still in playable condition but first applied material to soak up some of the excess moisture.

Play resumed with Balter on first and Gustafson on third with one out. Goetz singled down the third base line and allowed Gustafson in to bring the score to 84.

Collins was next at bat, and his base hit to right field brought Balter in and increased MIT's lead to 94.

Springfield was then back at bat in the top of the sixth. Springfield made several good hits and plays and earned three runs to bring the score to 97.

In the top of the seventh, Springfield was again at bat. However, excellent field play and pitching by MIT prevented them from earning any more runs, resulting in the Engineers' 97 win.

The Engineers will try to follow up these wins at their next home game on Wednesday at 3 p.m. against Brandeis University.