April 20, 2007

Engineers Hold Off Coast Guard, 10-8

April 20, 2007

Box Score

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Paced by senior Jason Witzberger, MIT baseball pounded out 15 hits and withstood a late rally en route to a 10-8 victory over Coast Guard, Friday afternoon at Briggs Field. Breaking a tie in the league standings, MIT (9-9, 5-5) moved into third place in the NEWMAC while the Bears (10-13, 4-6) remain in fifth as both teams cap its regular conference season on Saturday.

Sophomore Chris D'Annunzio (2-3) got the nod to start and pitched a terrific game in a tilt that played a major factor in the conference's postseason positioning. Earning their second win of the season over the Bears, the Engineers can secure a first round home game in the NEWMAC playoffs with a split against Springfield in tomorrow's doubleheader.

Witzberger gave MIT an early lead against Coast Guard after an RBI single brought home rookie Stewart Park. Park led off the game with a walk before stealing his league-leading 17th base of the campaign. Freshman Jason Rome, who was been effective in limited action this season, upped the Tech lead to 2-0 with an RBI single in the fourth.

MIT appeared to break the game open after plating three runners each in the fifth and sixth innings. Three run scoring singles supplied the Engineers with their tallies in the fifth, while sophomore Thomas Phillips lined a two-run single over the head of the Bears' shortstop to supply the fireworks in the sixth. MIT benefited from being incredibly effective on the basepaths. The Engineers finished 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts including two each by Witzberger and Steven Nunez.

D'Annunzio tired as the game progressed and as he lost control of his command, the Bears began to sense a rally. After securing two quick outs in the sixth, three walks in four batters gave Coast Guard some much-needed life. The third free pass resulted in the Bears' first run, but D'Annunzio did work out of the bases-loaded jam with a grounder to short.

Coast Guard, which scored seven runs in the final three frames, began to chip away at the MIT advantage. Christian George and Chuck Arena orchestrated back-to-back RBI singles in the seventh to slice Tech's lead to 8-3, while an RBI hit by Nunez in the bottom of the seventh was negated by three more Coast Guard runs in the eighth. Freshman Keith Laird knocked home the first score with a single, while the Bears got two more after a critical error in right field with two outs.

A sacrifice fly by Rome in the bottom of the eighth proved to be needed insurance as Coast Guard rallied with two more runs in the ninth. Brian Lisko provided an RBI hit to pull the Bears within three, while a wild pitch on a strikeout brought home the Bears' final run. With two runners on the bags, relief pitcher Rich Kosoglow thwarted the comeback bid as a chopped grounder was picked up in front of the plate by Nunez and tossed to first for the final put out of the day.

Witzberger finished 3-for-4 and was one of seven MIT players to earn an RBI. David Nole also closed with three hits (3-for-5), while Phillips and Rome each had two runs batted in. D'Annunzio worked 6.2 innings en route to his second win of the season.

Coast Guard had eight hits on the afternoon, but designated hitter Bill Birch authored the only multiple-hit performance. Sophomore Pete Schofield (2-2) started on the mound for Coast Guard and endured the loss after throwing 5.1 innings.