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Baseball Sweeps Coast Guard to Take Fourth in League

After Four Game Losing Streak, Engineers Defeat Wentworth and Coast Guard in Intense Match-ups

By Alvan Eric P. Loreto

TEAM MEMBER

After stringing together their first winning streak of the season on the season’s last weekend, the MIT baseball team will face a familiar opponent to open their 2001 postseason experience.

Although the Engineers lost the first two games of their NEWMAC homestretch, the scrappy MIT squad rebounded in fine fashion. The Engineers strung together three consecutive victories to earn fourth place and first-round home field advantage in this year’s conference tournament.

Oddly, their opening opponent, fifth-place U.S. Coast Guard Academy, was the same team MIT beat twice last Saturday at home in order to earn the right to host the first-round game.

Engineers fall on the road

MIT started the week slowly by dropping consecutive conference road games to stretch their losing streak to four. On April 17, MIT found itself on the short end of a classic pitchers’ duel, as Clark University’s Mike Burnham outlasted Tech’s Jeffrey J. Billing ’01 for a 2-1 victory.

Billing sparkled, allowing just one unearned run and scattering six hits in pitching the complete game, but the last-place Cougars’ unearned run in the fourth inning proved to be the difference.

Two days later the Engineers traveled to Wellesley for their meeting with third-place Babson College, and the result was a frustrating 12-5 setback. The win over the Engineers gave Babson the season sweep.

Engineer captains Billing and Alvan Eric P. Loreto ’01 enjoyed two-hit games, but four Babson players notched multiple-hit games to power the Beavers to the win. Tech righty Bryan P. Perryman ’01 gave a gutsy performance in going the distance but was victimized by several bad bounces and missed plays by the MIT defense.

MIT defeats Wentworth

MIT returned home on Friday April 20 for a rainout rescheduling against non-conference rival Wentworth Institute of Technology. Against Wentworth, the Engineers fought back from an early 6-1 deficit, catching their opponents in the seventh and going ahead in the eighth for the 7-6 come-from-behind victory.

MIT’s Jonathan A. Coe ’02 scored the winning run, highlighting a 2-for-4 day for the second baseman.

However, the game’s biggest offensive hero was third baseman Billing, who went 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and the first home run of his collegiate career.

In addition, Austin S. Morris ’03 pitched three scoreless innings in relief and struck out four to pick up his first win of the year.

Engineers sweep doubleheader

April 21 marked the doubleheader showdown with Coast Guard, and the Engineers did not fail to excite the fans on hand.

The first game of the doubleheader, Billing was part of another pitchers’ duel, this time against Bear ace Jeremy Bohn. Bohn held MIT to one run in the first five innings but surrendered three runs in the final two innings as the Engineers rallied for another victory, 4-3. In contrast, Billing allowed no earned runs in the final five innings to even his pitching record at 3-3.

MIT won when a one-out bases-loaded ground ball to third from John J. Kogel ’03 was thrown to home and then into right field by Bear catcher Fred Bertsch on the attempted double play, scoring Patrick G. Lo ’04 from second.

Although seemingly impossible, game two provided even more drama and excitement. The game went into extra innings with a 7-7 tie after the seventh.

The Bears pushed across a run in the top of the seventh, but MIT answered in the bottom half on a clutch two-out RBI single from Lo to drive in Douglas L. Allaire ’04. Relief pitcher Perryman held USCGA scoreless in the eighth and ninth, and Loreto’s no-out single in the bottom of the ninth drove in Kogel, allowing MIT to walk off with the thrilling 8-7 victory.

After receiving news of their standing in the postseason tournament, MIT played host to Bates College April 23. Looking ahead to their NEWMAC matchup, the Engineers experienced a bit of a letdown, losing 19-8 to the Bobcats.

Bates, carrying a 1-16 record and a .220 team batting average into the game, exploded for 15 hits, and the MIT pitchers aided the Bobcats with 15 free passes on base (10 walks, 5 hit batsmen).

However, one positive from the blowout was MIT’s improved bat-swinging. Seven players (Allaire, Loreto, Lo, Billing, David J. Ostlund ’04, Robert L Wieker ’04, and Edward I. Duggan ’04) came away from the loss with two hits apiece.

The rubber match between MIT (7-16, 5-7 NEWMAC) and Coast Guard (15-12, 5-7 NEWMAC) in the first round of the 2001 NEWMAC Tournament was set for yesterday, and the results will appear in Tuesday’s edition. The winner draws conference regular-season champion Wheaton (24-8, 10-2 NEWMAC) tomorrow, April 28, at 11 a.m.