MIT engineers late rally to defeat Judges, 6-5

MIT engineers late rally to defeat Judges, 6-5

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (taken from an MIT press release)- Down two runs with bases loaded, two outs and a full count, MIT senior Stewart Park rose to the occasion, hitting a three-run double for a 6-5, walk-off win over visiting Brandeis University in non-conference baseball action Friday on Briggs Field. With the win, the Engineers rose to 5-6 (0-3 NEWMAC) on the season, while the Judges slid to 7-11 (1-4 UAA) on the year.

After a scoreless first inning, MIT was first to get on the board in the second. Senior Dan Hyatt led with a double off the left-field fence, followed by an RBI single from freshman Ricardo Perez. Rookie Aric Dama added another single before sophomore Torre Swanson cleared the bases with a two-RBI double just out of reach of sophomore CF Zach Malis (Merrick, N.Y./Bellmore JFK), putting the Engineers up 3-0.

Brandeis scored its first run in the 5th, when Malis sent a sac-fly to deep center field, allowing senior 2B John O'Brion (Portland, Maine/Portland) to sneak home and narrow the lead to two.

The Judges got their momentum going in the seventh, when O'Brion and seniors Artie Posch (Hopedale, Mass./Hopedale) and James Likis (Cambridge, Mass./Cambridge Rindge & Latin) hit three consecutive singles to load the bases with none out. MIT pitcher Ryne Barry tallied a strikeout and forced a fly on the next two batters, but his escape was foiled by Brandeis rookie LF Chris Ferro (Walpole, Mass./Walpole), who slipped a shot down the left-field line to bring in two runners and tie the game, 3-3.

Brandeis took the lead in the eighth, after MIT reliever Columbus Leonard dropped a run on an RBI double to junior 3B Tony Deshler (Pepperell, Mass./Lawrenceville School). Sensing trouble, the Engineers brought out closer Henry Zhu with the bases loaded and one out. Likis brought home senior 1B Drake Livada (Cape Elizabeth, Maine/Cape Elizabeth) with a squeeze bunt, giving the Judges a 5-3 lead that they carried into the ninth.

MIT's rally was setup by three singles from MIT freshman Ricardo Perez, sophomore Zach Carr, and freshman James McKinney. The Judges brought senior Kyle Ritchie (Brewster, Mass./Nauset Regional)  to face the would-be final batter, and after a series of
tense pitches, Park nailed a hit to center field for 3 RBI's and the 6-5 victory.

Brandeis junior pitcher John McGrath (New York, N.Y./Trevor Day) threw for 6.1 innings, allowing 3 runs while notching 4 strikeouts and 2 walks. Senior reliever Nick Pollack (Brooklyn, N.Y./Berkley Carrol School) received the loss after letting 3 runs score in 2.1 innings with two strikeouts.

Barry totaled 7 innings thrown for the Engineers with 3 runs, 3 strikeouts and 1 walk. Leonard tallied two runs and only one out, while Zhu (1-0) picked up his first win on a scoreless 1.2 innings pitched, lowering his season ERA to 0.84 over 10.2 innings.

MIT takes the field again Saturday, April 3, against the Beavers of Babson College, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) doubleheader starting at 12 p.m. The Judges also play Saturday in a non-conference doubleheader against Clark University, beginning at 11 a.m.