May 5, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Freshman Luke Johnson earned his first collegiate decision after a fantastic start in leading MIT (20-12) to the program's first back-to-back 20-win seasons. The Engineers' freshmen contingent continued to carry the post-conference attack highlighted by another strong performance from David Nole as MIT defeated Suffolk (21-18), 6-0.
Friday's battle shaped up early like a classic pitcher's duel. While Johnson completed six innings of four-hit ball without yielding a run, Rams' senior Rony Mercado equaled Johnson's strong start by keeping the Tech bats silent into the fifth. Mercado entered the tilt with a 1.29 earned run average.
The Engineers scored an unearned run in the fifth to grab an early 1-0 lead, but a five-run explosion in the sixth keyed the non-conference win. Seniors Warren Bates and Wayne Duggan started the inning with back-to-back singles before Nole plated both runners with a double to deep right. Senior Kyle Zeller followed with a two-run double of his own to cap the scoring while driving Tech's advantage to six.
Suffolk senior Ryan Clark replaced Mercado on the hill in the sixth and held MIT scoreless the rest of the way. Sophomore Joe Yurko pitched two innings of shutout relief for MIT, while Duggan was signaled to the mound in the ninth to close out the game.
Nole authored the day's best offensive performance, going 3-for-3 with a run and two runs batted in. Zeller finished 2-for-4 and two RBI's, while Jason Witzberger finished 2-for-5 with an RBI. Sophomore Nick Martinho went 2-for-4 with a double to pace Suffolk at the plate.
Friday's win over Suffolk was the first shutout of the season for the Cardinal and Gray. MIT caps the regular-portion of its spring slate with a double header tomorrow against Williams College. The first game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.