BABSON PARK, Mass., April 29, 2006 - Freshman Chris D'Annunzio (Scotch Plains, N.J.) hit the first two home runs of his college career and recorded a save to help fourth-seeded Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) rally to down No. 2 Springfield College, 10-7, in a semifinal round elimination game during the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament this afternoon at Babson College's Govoni Baseball Field.
MIT improves to 17-11 and takes on sixth-seeded Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) during another elimination game tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at Wheaton College's Sidell Stadium. The winner faces top-seeded Wheaton College in the championship at 1:30 p.m., and a Wheaton loss would force a rematch Monday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. The Pride falls to 16-18 overall on the season and is eliminated from the tournament.
With SC playing the home team at the neutral site, the Pride broke a one-all tie with three runs in the bottom of the third inning, as senior Derek Yvon (East Longmeadow, Mass.) doubled home a run with one down before sophomore Rex Cone (Bristol, Conn.) followed with a two-run single. From that point, MIT scored the next seven runs to capture the lead for good. In the top of the fourth, the Engineers tallied four two-out runs on two hits and three errors to turn a 4-1 deficit into a 5-4 advantage. The following inning, D'Annunzio launched a two-out, two-run home run to give MIT a 7-4 lead. Senior Wayne Duggan's (Hazel Green, Ala.) sacrifice fly in the sixth plated another unearned run as the Engineers took an 8-4 lead.
SC came within just one run (8-7) during the sixth inning thanks to three unearned runs on three hits and an error, as junior Chris Stack (Albany, N.Y.) doubled home a two-out run before senior Steve Hunt (West Hartford, Conn.) drove a two-run single into right. However, senior Kyle Zeller (Sea Ranch Lakes, Fla.) homered leading off the seventh for MIT, and D'Annunzio added his second longball one out later to produce the final margin.
Four players had two hits for MIT, including D'Annunzio's 2-for-3 day with three RBI and two runs. Junior Jason Witzberger (Wheeling, W. Va.) was 2-for-5 and scored three times, while Duggan drove in a pair of runs and earned the win after tossing the first seven innings. Duggan yielded four earned runs on 10 hits, while D'Annunzio went the final two innings for his third save. He allowed two singles, but both runners were erased on ground-ball double plays, including one that ended the game.
Pride senior Chris McCarthy (East Longmeadow, Mass.) was 4-for-5 with two runs out of the leadoff spot for SC, Hunt and Yvon each picked up two hits, and Cone drove in three runs. Freshman Jimmy Lisowski (Warwick, Mass.) received the loss after allowing four earned runs on six hits over the first five innings.