CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – April 23, 2008 -- Senior Jay Turner delivered his best start of the spring and the MIT attack complemented the effort with a strong performance as well, as the Engineers cruised past Springfield, 11-2, in the first round of the NEWMAC Baseball Tournament on Wednesday.
< No. 3 seed MIT remains in the winner’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament and will travel to No. 2 Wheaton tomorrow afternoon.
In a strange twist of fate, No. 4-seeded Springfield will play at home tomorrow (Thursday) as the higher seed, and will face No. 6 Clark, which knocked-off top-seeded Babson, 12-11.
MIT (16-13) scored one run in each of the first two innings as Brian Doyle worked the basepaths for the Engineers’ initial score, while David Nole also displayed tremendous base-running skill en route to the 2-0 lead.
Springfield (14-19) leveled the score with a pair of runs in the top of the third. Tim Romeo ignited the spark with a single to center before scoring on John Schmaltz’s single to left. Two batters later, Luke Gabordi doubled down the right-field line to plate another run, although MIT worked out of the jam as Gabordi was caught trying to take third on a wild pitch.
The Cardinal and Gray took control of the battle in the bottom of the third with two runs of its own. Kevin Wheeler doubled to left center to drive home the first run of the frame while Thomas Phillips singled home Wheeler with a knock to left field.
MIT added another run in the bottom of the sixth while Turner continued to cruise on the hill. In the seventh, the Engineers expanded their lead behind the base-running prowess of Stewart Park. After drawing a lead-off walk, Park swiped second and one batter later, stole third. Rookie William Blackman brought Park home with a single to left center, while Steven Nunez plated another run with a base-hit to left.
Ahead 7-2 in the bottom of the eighth, MIT sealed the opening-round victory with four more runs. Blackman drove in two runs with a single to left while Nole plated another run with a line-drive to center.
After drawing a lead-off walk in the top of the ninth, Turner quickly secured the final three outs, including a swinging strikeout in the game’s final at bat.
Turner (2-4) scattered seven hits and two walks while striking out five. Michael Cole (2-2) took the loss for the Pride after giving up four earned runs in five innings pitched. Travis Turgeon relieved Cole in the sixth and finished out the tilt.
Nole and Nunez each had three hits on the day while Blackman drove home a game-best three runs. The Engineers were also 5-for-5 on the bags with Park and Nole each getting credit for two steals.
Gabordi finished 2-for-3 with an RBI to pace the Springfield offense, while Schmaltz closed 2-for-4 with an RBI and one run scored.