Springfield, Mass. – April 28, 2014 - Despite a strong three-game series, the Springfield College baseball team fell to MIT, 6-3 on Monday in the deciding game of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Semifinals on Berry-Allen Field.
The second-seeded Pride (19-13) won game one of the series on Sunday, but No. 3 MIT (19-12) took game two on Sunday afternoon and earned the game three win to advance to the NEWMAC Championship against top-seeded Wheaton next weekend.
The Pride had three players with a multi-hit day, led by Shane O’Leary (Kings Park, N.Y.), who went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Frank Calabrese (East Longmeadow, Mass.) finished 2-for-4 with one run batted in while Jared Hopkins (Cranston, R.I.) scored once and went 2-for-3 at the plate.
K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Jon Rea (Palo Alto, Calif.) each had strong games for the Engineers. Parent went 2-for-3 while Rea went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
MIT's David Hesslink (San Diego, Calif.) earned the win, his sixth of the season (6-0), going seven innings, allowing seven hits and three runs, while striking out four. Relief pitcher Michael Wymer (Flower Mound, Texas) earned his second save of the season, going two innings, allowing just one hit while picking up three strikeouts.
Springfield starter Mike DeMille (East Milton, Mass.) went the first six innings on the mound for Springfield, allowing five hits and two runs, while striking out two, taking the no decision. Matt Butrym (Schenectady, N.Y.) took the loss for the Pride (2-1), pitching 1.2 innings of relief, while Dan Green (Oakland, N.J.) and Peter Baranski (Hamden, Conn.) each pitched 0.2 innings down the stretch.
Springfield’s defense was strong early on. In the first, Sean Smith (Broken Arrow, Okla.) threw Sean Karson (Orlando, Fla.) out attempting to steal second to end the inning. After MIT picked up a base runner on a walk in the second inning, Dan Bergami (Schenectady, N.Y.) turned a double-play to get out of the inning.
Patrick Dayton (Archer City, Texas) was hit by a pitch to start the top of the third, then advanced to third on a single by Rea with one out in the inning. Dayton scored in the next at bat on a wild pitch to give the Engineers a 1-0 lead. Rea scored on a sacrifice fly by John Drago (Peoria, Ariz.), putting MIT up by two.
Springfield got its first base runner in the third, as Hopkins drew a walk with two outs in the inning. A fly ball to right field ended the third with the Engineers holding a 2-0 advantage.
The Pride got into the hits column in the fourth, as O'Leary hit a lead-off single up the middle. Calabrese drove him in on a double to deep left center to make it a one-run game.
In the bottom of the sixth, O’Leary picked up another hit, this time a double to left center with one out in the inning. Calabrese followed it up with an infield single, moving O’Leary to third. Smith delivered the game-tying run on a single through the left side, scoring O’Leary. Brent Poulin (Atascadero, Calif.) moved the runners on a grounder to first, but the Engineers got out of the jam on a foul ball to third base.
MIT jumped back on top in the seventh, after back-to-back hits from Dayton and Phil Reiser (Alpharetta, Ga.). Reiser’s double to right center drove in Dayton for a 3-2 lead. Drago then belted a two-run homer to left field to give the Engineers a 5-2 lead.
The Pride got a pair of runners aboard with two outs in the seventh, on back-to-back singles by Hopkins and Steve Starr (Lebanon, Conn.). O’Leary loaded the bases on a walk and the Pride scored Hopkins on a balk to make it a 5-3 game. Hesslink got out of the jam on a pop up to second base to preserve a two run lead.
MIT tacked on a run in the top of the ninth, on a sacrifice bunt by Karl Sorenson (Blacksburg Va.) that scored Rea for a 6-3 lead.
Chasing three runs in the bottom of the ninth, the Pride put runners on first and second with one out as Adam Zandri (Ridgefield, Conn.) drew a pinch hit walk and Hopkins singled down the right field line. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, but Wymer picked up a strikeout for the second out of the inning. The reliever earned his second save of the year, getting out of the jam on a hard hit line drive to center field to end the game.