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Two Pride Homeruns Key in Doubleheader Losses For Baseball

By Travis Johnson

Fielding and baserunning errors proved costly for MIT Baseball (14-10, 6-6 NEWMAC) in 4-3 and 8-1 losses to Springfield College (15-15, 8-4) Saturday.

MIT pitcher Christopher M. D’Annunzio ’09 had a rocky start in the first game, walking the first two batters. An error by shortstop Greg R. Williams ’08 and a homerun by Adam Tarquini put Springfield up 4-0.

D’Annunzio settled down following the homerun and become nearly unhittable. After getting out of the first inning and walking Springfield’s Chris Stack in the second, he retired every batter he faced for the rest of the game. Pitching through the complete seven innings, D’Annunzio mowed the final 17 by hitting corners with his fastball and freezing batters with his curve.

Meanwhile, MIT’s offense also started quickly, though not at the same pace as Springfield. An RBI double by Warren W. Bates ’06 led to two runs in the bottom of the first, and Jason T. Witzberger ’07 pushed across another in the second to bring the score to 4-3.

But the Engineer offense died there. The best chance to tie the game came in the fifth, as Witzberger drew a lead off walk. Springfield pitcher Jimmy Lisowski, a lefty, picked off the speedy Witzberger, who may have been trying to steal. Bates then hit a double that would have easily scored Witzberger.

Springfield right-handed pitcher Scott Samolewicz shut down the Engineers in the last two innings, allowing no hits and striking out three.

The second game, a nine-inning affair, was close through seven. MIT pitcher Jay M. Turner ’08 was on, holding his opponents to two unearned runs caused by two Williams errors.

The Engineers got a run on a Wayne P. Duggan ’06 double in fourth inning, but couldn’t break through to tie the game. They had a golden opportunity in the sixth, when Steven M. Nunez ’09 led off the inning with a single. Witzberger followed with a single of his own, but as the ball skirted between the first and second basemen, Nunez collided with it. Since no fielder had touched the ball first, Nunez was called out.

Once again, the baserunning mistake proved costly, as Duggan slugged a ground rule double that would have scored Nunez. To end the inning, designated hitter Thomas M. Phillips ’09 struck out with Duggan and Witzberger in scoring position.

Things fell apart for Turner and the Engineers in the eighth. Springfield strung together a hit batter, single, error, and James Miner homerun to pull ahead 6-1 and silence any hope of an MIT rally.

Springfield lefty Joe Carlos pitched a complete game, allowing only the one run on eight hits and striking out five. He had good stuff, threw consistently in the strike zone, and held MIT to 1-of-6 hitting with runners in scoring position.

MIT pitcher Joseph P. Yurko ’08 relieved Turner and got the third out of the eight inning, but had a rocky ninth, allowing two Springfield insurance runs on three singles.

These were the final NEWMAC regular season games for MIT and Springfield. The 6-6 Engineers finished fourth and the 8-4 Pride second out of seven.