No. 7 Wheaton Tops MIT En Route to NEWMAC Regular Season Title
April 18, 2006
Wheaton Sports Information
NORTON, Mass. - The Wheaton College baseball team, ranked seventh nationally and first in New England according to Tuesday's American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) polls, clinched its eighth consecutive New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season championship in the league's eight-year history after deating second-place MIT, 6-3 at Sidell Stadium.
With today's win, the Lyons earn a bye in next week's seven-team conference tournament and will host the following weekend's semifinal and final rounds for the sixth straight year. Improving its season record to 22-6 and NEWMAC mark to 10-1, Wheaton will host the winner of the four versus five seed on Saturday, April 29 at 11:00 a.m. Wheaton also extended its program-high winning streak to 15 straight games. The Engineers remain in second place in the conference at 6-3 with a 14-7 record overall.
Senior hurler Chris Martin and the Lyon defense set the tone early, facing the minimum number of batters through four innings as Wheaton turned a pair of double plays. Offensively, the Blue and White left eight base runners stranded through four but still managed to plate two runs. Senior Mark Baumer delivered a sacrifice fly in the third and classmate Andy Koocher dropped in a two-out, run-scoring single into left center in the fourth.
Wheaton extended its lead to 3-0 in the fifth when sophomore Jake Yagjian doubled to left center and scored Baumer. The Engineers got a run back in the top of the sixth, using a walk, passed ball, wild pitch and throwing error to score senior Greg Williams. Martin retired the side in order in both the seventh and eighth innings, and the Lyons took a comfortable 6-1 advantage with three runs on five hits in the home half of the eighth. Baumer, junior Adam Laplante and sophomore Scott Guillerault each drove in a run for the Blue and White.
MIT made things interesting in the ninth, as the Engineers picked up RBI singles from sophomore Kevin Wheeler and freshman Thomas Phillips. With two down, runners at the corners and the tying run at the plate, Wheaton senior closer Jamie Baker fanned his third batter of the frame to end the MIT threat.
Martin improved to 3-1 after not allowing an earned run for the third successive outing, yielding just three hits while striking out three and walking one in eight innings of work. Wheaton handed MIT rookie Matt Loper his first loss of the season, as the freshman righthander fell to 5-1 after allowing three runs, two earned, on five hits with five strikeouts and five walks in five innings.
Yagjian led a trio of multiple-hit performances after going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Koocher was 2-for-4 with an RBI and run, while junior Travis Anthoine (Portland, ME/Portland) went 2-for-4 with a run. Baumer drove in two runs and scored a pair to go along with his second triple of the season. Phillips was MIT's lone multiple hitter, going 2-for-4 with the one RBI.