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Tech Stops Wheaton Streak at 16 Games

By Alvan Eric P. Loreto

TEAM MEMBER

In a season of one uphill battle after another, the ground has started to look a bit more level for the Tech baseball team.

After a 1-7 start, the team has rebounded to go 2-2 in its past four games, with the highlight being Saturday’s upset over NEWMAC frontrunners Wheaton College in the nightcap of a road doubleheader. The thrilling victory, which evened MIT’s conference record at 2-2, energizes the shaky squad as it nears the halfway point of its season.

Engineers rally to beat Clark

The Engineers picked up their first conference win with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory against Clark University on Thursday afternoon. The Beavers rallied on the strength of three unearned runs late in the contest to send the Cougars to defeat.

With MIT down 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Clark sophomore starting pitcher Keith Rybicki loaded the bases with two outs before giving way to senior reliever Henry Wheelwright. Wheelwright’s first two pitches hit the dirt en route to the backstop, scoring Tech baserunners Patrick G. Lo ’04 and Bryan P. Perryman ’01. Jonathan I. Reznik ’04 then picked up the game-winning RBI by driving a 3-2 fastball to the fence for a double, scoring John J. Kogel ‘03.

The narrow victory over the Cougars (2-8, 0-2 NEWMAC) featured a gritty pitching performance by Perryman, who gave up no earned runs and struck out four in four innings of relief for the win.

Starter Douglas L. Allaire ’04 surrendered his first earned runs of the year, raising his ERA to 1.50, but turned in another solid performance with five strikeouts and one walk.

Center fielder Alvan Eric P. Loreto ’01 continued to emerge from an early-season slump, going 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, an RBI, and two runs scored.

MIT falls to Brandeis 7-1

Friday the Engineers again took Francis O’Brien Field to play host Brandeis University, and the result was a 7-1 loss in a rain-shortened five-inning contest.

Sophomore righty Mike Parissi went the distance, scattering five hits to snap a six-game losing streak for the Judges (13-8).

The lone Beaver run came on a disputed second-inning home run to left by right fielder David J. Ostlund ’04. Despite the loss, the Engineers played improved defense in committing only one error.

Tech picks up a win at Wheaton

MIT traveled to Wheaton Saturday for a doubleheader against the defending conference champion and first-place Lyons.

In game one Wheaton pounded out 10 hits to go along with four Tech errors, and the result was a 7-1 MIT loss. The loss overshadowed solid offensive production from Kogel (3 for 3, 1 double) and Loreto (2 for 3, 2 stolen bases) and reliable pitching from righty Brian S. Nykiel-Furgala ’02.

In Game two David found a way to slay Goliath, as MIT jumped out to a six-run lead and withstood a furious Wheaton rally before notching an 8-7 victory.

Although the Lyons consistently scored runs, the comeback fell short when Wheaton designated hitter Alan Beausoleil grounded out to MIT third baseman Edward I. Duggan ’04 to end the game. Beausoleil stranded the tying runner at second. Jeffrey J. Billing ’01 pitched 4 1/3 strong innings for the victory, and Perryman’s 2 2/3 innings of relief earned him the save.

With the win in the second game Tech snapped a 16-game conference winning streak for the Lyons (13-6, 5-1 NEWMAC) dating back to last year. It did so on the strength of clutch hitting and solid defense. Five of the Engineers’ eight runs were driven in with two outs, and they made only one error in the game.

Offensive highlights were provided by Ostlund (2 for 3, 3 stolen bases, 3 runs scored), Loreto (1 for 3, double, stolen base, 1 RBI), and Robert L. Wieker ’03 (1 for 2, 2 RBI).

Coming off a Monday visit to local powerhouse Tufts University, MIT (3-8, 2-2 NEWMAC) returns home today for a 3:30 p.m. contest against conference rival Babson College. The Engineers then make a 40-mile trip down Interstate 90 Thursday for their second meeting of the year with WPI. With these two huge conference games looming, MIT must hope the momentum from the Wheaton upset has them putting their feet on steady ground -- rather than their heads in the clouds.