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Baseball Gets Off to Rough Start; Team Drops Six Games in Florida

By Alvan Eric P. Loreto


So far, the 2001 MIT Baseball season has gone the way of the weather. Some of the team’s games have been rocky like a South Florida thunderstorm; others have been cold like New England spring air.

Plagued by weak hitting and a slew of errors, the T’s dropped six of seven games on their season-opening trip to Homestead, Florida. A handful of freshmen contributed most of the trip’s highlights. As a team, MIT looked a bit rusty; an early-season squad pitting itself against much sharper teams.

MIT’s slump has continued after their return to New England, as the team dropped its conference opener last Tuesday. The loss extended the team’s losing streak to five.

Saturday, March 24 was officially Opening Day for the Engineers’ season. They started off by dropping a morning game to perennial New England powerhouse Williams College and an afternoon game to Minnesota’s Gustavus Adolphus. The pitching struggled and timely hits were few and far between in 20-4 and 8-6 losses to the Ephs and the Golden Gusties, respectively.

Outfielder David J. Ostlund ’04 started his collegiate career off with a bang, going 4 for 4 with a triple, two RBI, and two runs scored in the twilight game.

Day two of the trip saw the T’s notch their first victory of the year behind sparkling pitching from freshman sensation Douglas L. Allaire ’04. Allaire pitched a complete game five-hitter, registering four strikeouts and surrendering no earned runs, to beat the Bowdoin Polar Bears, 2-1. The Engineers could muster only three hits on the day, but a seventh-inning double from catcher John J. Kogel ’02 brought home Alvan Eric P. Loreto ’01 and Patrick G. Lo ’04 to give MIT the victory.

However, MIT could not build on their momentum, as they went 0-4 for the rest of the stay in Florida. The losses mounted due to embarrassingly sloppy defensive play by the young team. MIT committed 24 total errors in losses to Endicott (9-6), Florida St. Thomas (22-1), Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (12-2), and a rematch with Williams (12-2). The poor performance on defense wasted multiple-hit performances by Allaire, Loreto, Lo, first baseman Robert L. Wieker ’03, and third baseman Jeffrey J. Billing ’01.

The Engineers returned to Cambridge March 31, but their Friday and Monday games were canceled because of inclement weather. Tuesday, April 3 marked the Engineers’ first test in sub-50 degree temperatures. Their difficulties continued with a 10-3 loss to rival WPI (7-8, 1-2 NEWMAC).

A fourth-inning three-run homer by WPI’s catcher Mike Sorrentino gave WPI a lead that they would not relinquish. A late-inning MIT offensive surge led by Lo, Kogel, and Jonathan I. Reznik ’04 fell short when Reznik was gunned down at home by WPI left fielder Matt Lablanc.

Fresh from a Thursday home conference game against Clark University, the Engineers (1-7, 0-1 NEWMAC) today play host to non-conference foe Brandeis University at 3:00 p.m.

Brandeis has dropped two contests this year to Bowdoin, so they may be just what the doctor ordered for an ailing MIT team. The Engineers then travel to Wheaton on Saturday for a noon doubleheader against the 2000 NEWMAC champion Lyons before heading to Tufts for a Monday game against the always-dangerous Jumbos.