MIT ensured its fourth consecutive winning campaign with a 16-2 victory over Fitchburg State on Tuesday at Briggs Field. Playing in the final game of his collegiate career, Jason T. Witzberger ’07 enjoyed a monster day at the plate, stealing three bases while driving in a career-high seven runs. The Engineers (18-16) plated runners in six of the first seven innings, while Jay M. Turner ’08 and Christopher M. D’Annunzio ’09 combined to hold the Falcon offense to five hits.
After drawing a one-out walk in the first, Stewart J. Park ’10 etched his name into MIT lore by swiping his league-leading and Institute-record 24th base of the season. Witzberger followed with an RBI single to left before stealing his 20th base in 2007. Matthew D. Loper ’09 also delivered a two-run single just past the third baseman. Witzberger added another run-scoring single in the second to give MIT a 5-0 lead after two innings.
Fitchburg’s (17-18) Jason Rashid hit a sacrifice fly as part of a two-run third that cut the Engineers’ advantage to 5-2, but the MIT offense exploded during the middle innings to earn its fifth win in the last six games.
Park sparked the bats with a triple to left center to lead off the fourth. Witzberger plated Park for the third time of the game in the next at-bat, while Thomas M. Phillips ’09 followed with a two-run homer to left field. Witzberger orchestrated more damage in the fifth with a bases-clearing double. He then knocked in a run for the third consecutive inning in the sixth.
Turner (6-3) started on the mound for MIT, surrendering two runs and three hits in five and two-thirds innings. D’Annunzio was even sharper in relief, giving up only two hits en route to the multi-inning save. Making his first start of the year, Corey Donovan suffered the loss and dropped to 2-4 on the season.
Witzberger, who holds Institute career records for hits and stolen bases, finished 3-for-6 with three runs scored. Park crossed the plate four times after going 2-for-4 with the bat. Despite the offensive outburst, Kevin R. Wheeler ’08 was the only other Engineer to finish with multiple hits after serving up a 2-for-3 performance in addition to three walks. Jim Abreau finished 2-for-5 to pace Fitchburg.
Witzberger retires from the collegiate ranks as the first MIT player to ever be a part of four winning teams. Head coach Andy Barlow has led the Engineers to their best four-year stretch in program history. MIT also finished the season a perfect 8-0 in home games.