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Baseball Splits a Pair With Williams

By Travis Johnson

MIT Baseball finished its season with a 7-1 blowout loss and 8-7 shootout win in Saturday’s doubleheader against Williams College, ending the Ephs’ 13-game winning streak.

The Williams Ephs (27-8) dominated the first game behind freshmen pitcher Dan Benz, who controlled MIT’s hitters with his great location and effective curve through all seven innings. He held MIT to one run on four hits with six strikeouts.

The Engineers’ (20-13, 6-6) lone run came in the fifth when Christopher M. D’Annunzio ’06 led off with a single, advanced to third on a single by Matthew B. Harrington ’08, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason T. Witzberger ’07.

Other than that, MIT only had four baserunners and two hits. They had a promising start to the first inning, when a Wizberger led off with an infield single and Warren W. Bates ’06 reached on an error. But Benz got Wayne P. Duggan ’06 to ground into a doubleplay and struck out Keven R. Wheeler ’08 to end the inning.

The MIT starting pitcher, Jay M. Turner ’08, began the game with two strikeouts but quickly got into trouble with Williams’ third hitter Chris Kenney, an imposing 6’4” catcher who went 6-8 on the day.

With two outs in the first, Kenney drilled a line-drive double to start Williams’ rally. Cleanup hitter Paul Morgan then singled, but Kenney didn’t get a good enough jump to score. Turner stranded Kennedy and Morgan by drawing a popup from five-hitter Max Pinto.

After a smooth second inning that included another two strikeouts, Turner got into more serous trouble in the third. He issued a leadoff walk to the number nine hitter Mike Overend, a big no-no for pitchers. James Discomo moved him over with a sacrifice bunt, which Williams followed with back to back singles, scoring Overend.

Kenney hit another line drive, this time the opposite way and good for a single, driving home Overend. Another single, this time a blooper by Pinto, scored Discomo and put Williams up 2-0.

The Ephs added two more in the fourth on another walk and three more hits, one a hard grounder beyond the reach of diving third basemen Bates. Turner continued pitching into the fifth and his problems continued. Williams scored two more on a walk and back-to-back doubles by Kevin Flynn and Overland.

G. Mike Vasquez ’08 got the final out of the fifth and pitched a shutout sixth. Tim Burbridge scored his teams’ final run on a single, stolen base, balk, and passed ball in the seventh inning.

MIT Wins Second Game

The second game looked to be more of the same when Williams jumped out to a 3-0 lead on four consecutive singles against starting MIT pitcher D’Annunzio.

The tides turned in the bottom of the first for MIT, as they tattooed Williams pitcher Matt Gustafson for six singles. Gustafson helped the Engineers by contributing two of them, giving MIT a total of eight baserunners and six runs, making the score 3-6.

D’Annunzio had a rocky second inning, allowing a single and walking two, but escaped without allowing a run thanks to a strikeout and popout with the bases loaded. Gustafson quickly retired MIT with three straight grounders.

The scoring resumed in the third, with Williams getting a run on a hit batter and a double by Discomo. MIT got that run back and one more, using a leadoff walk and three singles to pull ahead 8-4.

Williams ended the third by putting in Sam Tuttle to pitch to Witzberger, who struck out to end the inning. Tuttle threw significantly faster than anyone MIT had faced that day, and they would get only one hit and no runs against him through the rest of the game.

With Tuttle mowing down their hitters, the pressure was on the Engineers defense and pitching to hold Williams to three runs or fewer. D’Annunzio came out in the third, and Joseph P. Yurko ’08 got the next three outs but allowed a run on three hits in the fourth.

Richard D. Kosoglow ’08 tried next, and got six outs but allowed another run. Each inning Williams was getting one run closer, and going into the seventh and final inning they were down 8-6.

After getting the final out of the sixth inning, Matthew D. Loper ’09 started the seventh with a walk. Coach Andy Barlow had seen enough and brought in his steady senior Duggan to close the win. The first batter Duggan faced hit a shot at his feet that bounced off at a funny angle. After a moment of suspense when, he grabbed it and make a spot-on throw.

He then faced Kenney, who was 6 of 7 on the day and had hit the ball hard every time. A high fastball got him to fly out to short. Morgan extended the game by hitting an RBI double in the gap. With a runner in scoring position, Pinto hit a long fly ball to left field, where Stephen C. Toth ’09 was playing his first inning in the field and looked like he might have trouble fielding it. But he managed to get under it and the celebration began for MIT.