BABSON PARK, Mass. – Third-seeded MIT scored five runs in the top of the ninth inning to overcome a four-run deficit and stun second-seeded Babson College, 6-5, in the opening round of the 2011 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Baseball Tournament at Babson's Govoni Field on Wednesday afternoon.
With the victory, the Engineers (19-9) advance to the winner's bracket of the four-team, double-elimination tourney, where they will face top-seeded host Wheaton in a second round matchup on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Babson (24-11) will host fourth-seeded Coast Guard in an elimination game on Friday at 3:30 p.m. after the Bears suffered a 7-3 loss at Wheaton in Wednesday's other first round contest.
MIT sophomore James McKinney greeted national ERA leader Michael Bortolotti (Milton, Mass.) with a single to right to start the ninth inning. This was followed by the Beavers' second error of the day that allowed A.J. Hansborough (Deltona, Fla.) to reach. A bloop single to right by senior Dan Hyatt (Wallingford, Conn.) then loaded the bases for Bryan Macomber, who forced in his team's second run of the day when he was hit by a pitch.
With the tying run now on base, Bortolotti got the first out of the inning when he induced a sacrifice fly to center by sophomore pinch-hitter Grant Iwamoto (Aiea, Hawaii) that made it 5-3. Junior pinch-hitter Zach Carr (Chatham, N.J.) followed with another blooper that dropped into shallow center to score Hyatt, cutting the Babson lead to 5-4.
Batting with runners at the corners, senior Ryne Barry (Phoenix, Ariz.) tied the contest with the hardest-hit ball of the inning – a line drive single to left center that scored Macomber and moved Carr to third. Senior Brian Doyle (Hopkinton, Mass.) then dropped down a perfect bunt to squeeze in Carr and give the Engineers a 6-5 lead.
Babson appeared well on the way to victory behind the right arm of senior starter Andrew Aizenstadt (Norwell, Mass.), who dazzled MIT for the first eight innings of the contest. The Beavers' ace gave up just one unearned run on five hits, walked none and struck out six.
While Aizenstadt held MIT in check, Babson took advantage of five Engineer errors to score five runs against first-year starter Kiel Jindra (Oceanside, Calif.) in the first six innings. In the bottom of the first, senior captain Dave Ahern (Bedford, Mass.) launched a lead-off double to left and took third on an errant throw on junior Billy Miller's (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) fielder's choice grounder back to the mound. Junior Travis Jonasson (Needham, Mass.) then plated the game's first run with a basehit up the middle, and, after a balk moved runners to second and third, a wild pitch allowed Miller to cross the plate for an early 2-0 Babson lead.
MIT answered with an unearned run off Aizenstadt in the top of the second, beginning with a single from Hansborough to start the inning. Hansborough then stole second and advanced to third on a Babson throwing error, setting up an RBI infield single by junior Macomber that cut the Beavers' lead in half, 2-1.
The Beavers would strike again in the bottom of the fourth, starting with a walk to sophomore Pat Matvichuk (Middleton, Mass.) and a double by junior Sean Cleary (Milton, Mass.) that put runners on second and third with one out. After Ahern drew a walk to load the bases, MIT got a force out on a grounder by Miller as Matvichuk scored, and an errant throw to first enabled Cleary to trot home as Babson extended its lead to 4-1.
The Beavers tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth, as sophomore Trevor Boyce (Canton, Mass.) singled through the right side, advanced to second on a groundout from Matvichuk, took third when Ahern reached on the Engineers' fourth error of the contest, and scored when Miller ripped an RBI single to right. That gave the Beavers a 5-1 lead that would hold up until the ninth.
After two scoreless innings of relief from junior Chris Vaughn (Fort Worth, Texas), MIT turned the ball over to first-year ace Arik Dama (Winfield, Ill.) in the bottom of the ninth. The rookie southpaw retired the final three batters in order - including the final two by strikeout – to secure his first collegiate save. Vaughn (2-0) picked up the win for the Engineers after allowing just one walk and fanning four in the seventh and eighth.
Jindra went the first six innings and gave up just two earned runs on six hits, walked four and struck out two for the Engineers. Offensively, MIT was led by Hyatt, who went 3-for-4, and Macomber, who added two hits and two RBIs.
Bortolotti (5-1) suffered his first collegiate defeat in relief for Babson, while Cleary went 2-for-3 at the plate.
MIT 6, Babson College 5 (Apr 20, 2011 at Babson Park, MA)
MIT…….................. 010 000 005 - 6 10 5 (19-9)
Babson College...... 200 201 000 - 5 6 2 (24-11)
Win-Chris Vaughan(2-0) Save-Aric Dama(1) Loss-Michael Bortolotti(5-1) T-2:00 A-70