May 8, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Playing in the final game of his collegiate career, senior Jason Witzberger enjoyed a monster day at the plate, stealing three bases while driving in a career-high seven runs as MIT ensured its fourth straight winning campaign with a 16-2 victory over Fitchburg State, Tuesday, at Briggs Field. The Engineers (18-16) plated runners in six of the first seven innings while Jay Turner and Chris D'Annunzio combined to hold the Falcons' attack to five hits.
After drawing a one-out walk in the first, freshman Stewart Park etched his name into MIT lore after swiping his league-leading and Institute-record 24th base of the season. Witzberger followed with an RBI single to left before stealing his 20th base in 2007. Sophomore Matt Loper also delivered big with a two-run single just past the third baseman. Witzberger added another run-scoring single in the second to give MIT a 5-0 lead after two.
Fitchburg's (17-18) Jason Rashid hit a sacrifice fly as part of a two-run third that sliced the Engineers' advantage to 5-2, but the MIT offensive exploded during Tuesday's middle innings to cap a 5-1 record for the Cardinal and Gray down the stretch.
Park sparked the bats with a triple to left center to lead off the fourth. Witz plated park for the third time of the game in the ensuing at bat, while sophomore Thomas Phillips followed with a two-run homer to left field. Witzberger orchestrated more damage in the fifth with a base-clearing double, and knocked in a run for the third consecutive inning in the sixth.
Turner (6-3) started on the bump for MIT and surrendered two runs and three hits in 5.2 innings. D'Annunzio was even more sharp in relief, finishing the rest of the tilt with only two hits against en route to the save. Making his first start of the year, Corey Donovan suffered the loss and dropped to 2-4 on the season.
Witzberger, who holds Institute career records for hits and stolen bases, closed 3-for-6 with three runs scored. Park crossed the plate four times after going 2-for-4 with the bat. Despite the offensive outburst, Kevin Wheeler was the only other Engineer to finish with multiple hits after serving up a 2-for-3 performance in addition to three walks. Jim Abreau finished 2-for-5 to pace Fitchburg.
Witzberger retires from the collegiate ranks as the first MIT player to ever be a part of four winning teams as head coach Andy Barlow has led the Engineers to their best four-year stretch in program history. MIT also finished the season a perfect 8-0 at Briggs Field.