CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Jonathan Rea delivered a bases loaded single in the bottom of the ninth to plate Sean Fannin and give the MIT baseball team a 2-1 victory over the WPI Engineers on Tuesday at Briggs Field. Rea singled twice, was hit by two pitches and scored a run in the afternoon in addition to his RBI.
The hosts held a 1-0 lead for most of the game, grabbing their first run in the bottom of the first. Rea singled down the left field line and stole second before scoring when WPI shortstop Nick Bean threw away a grounder by Dan Hyatt.
A pitcher's duel ensued, but the visitors finally broke through and evened the game in the top of the eighth inning with an unearned run of their own. Left fielder Mike Gauvin reached on an error by MIT first baseman Zach Carr and then came in to score on a passed ball. The visitors threatened to take the lead with two runners on but John Flynn lined into a double play to end the threat.
With the prospect of extra innings at hand, MIT loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, started with a walk by Ryne Barry, who was run for by Fannin. Center fielder Brian Doyle dropped a bunt down the third base line for a single and the bases were loaded for Rea, who slammed the first pitch he saw into left field for the game winning hit.
Henry Zhu improved to 2-0 after pitching four innings of relief and earning the victory. Zhu allowed just the one unearned run on two hits and no walks, while striking out five batters. The MIT starter, Chris Vaughan, pitched five shutout innings and struck out five WPI batters.
Eric Johnson pitched a complete game for WPI but took the loss. Johnson allowed eight hits and walked five MIT batters, while also fanning five.
Each team had eight hits on the afternoon. Third baseman Sean Karson joined Rea as the only two Engineers to have two hits while Bean and second baseman Matt Blakeman did the same for WPI. The hosts made three errors in the game, while Bean's was the only miscue for WPI.
MIT improves to 12-4 on the season, 6-2 in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play. WPI falls to 8-11, with a 4-4 mark in the conference. The two teams will play the rubber game of the series on Wednesday at 3:30 on the campus of Holy Cross.