CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A sacrifice fly from junior Ricardo Perez (Vienna, Va.) with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning proved to be the difference in the game as MIT edged past Wesleyan University by a final of 4-3. Junior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.) held off the Cardinals over the final two innings to pick up his third save of the season.
Wesleyan (13-13) struck early in the game, scoring twice in the first inning with two outs. Freshman Donnie Cimino (Westwood, N.J.) doubled to deep left before Joe Giaimo (Gillette, N.J.) parked a pitch over the fence in right center to put the Cardinals up 2-0.
MIT (15-13) starter, freshman K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn.), recovered from the two-run first and allowed just one more run over his five innings to keep the Engineers in the game, giving up a total of eight hits and fanning one. MIT tied it up quickly, putting together its own two-out rally with the bottom third of its order in the bottom of the second. Freshman Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.) singled ahead of a walk to freshman Karl Sorensen (Blacksburg, Va.). Senior Torre Swanson (Redding, Calif.) lined what appeared to be a single to right, but the ball veered away from the Cardinal right fielder into a bad-hop triple that tied the game.
Wesleyan went back on top in the fifth when Giaimo singled with one down. Parent retired the next hitter on a fly to center, but senior David Skura (Beverley Hills, Calif.) doubled down the third base line to bring in Giaimo with the go-ahead run.
Like Parent, Wesleyan's starter, sophomore Chase Levi (Somers, N.Y.) kept the Cardinals in the game by scattering eight hits over 6.1 innings. In the bottom of the sixth he gave up a pair of singles, one to Perez and another to freshman Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) to put two on with one down. Levi got Tew to hit one into the ground that could have been the inning-ending double-play, but the relay to first from short sailed high, allowing Perez to score.
In the bottom of the seventh MIT drew three walks off Levi to load the bases and bring in sophomore Chris Law (Dover, Mass.) out of the Wesleyan bullpen. Perez greeted him with a fly ball to center that was deep enough to score Swanson from third.
Zhu came on in the top of the eighth and walked Skura to open the inning. After getting a pop up to short, freshman Sam Goodwin-Boyd (Florence, Mass.) singled to deep center and freshman Luca Cobucci (Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.), who pinch ran for Goodwin-Boyd, attempted to come all the way around to score. The relay throw home from the outfield was in time, however, and preserved the MIT lead.
Wesleyan put the leadoff hitter aboard in the ninth as well, when junior Steve Moran (Swampscott, Mass.) reached on an infield single. Cimino followed with a shallow fly to right that sophomore Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah) made a diving catch on. His throw back in to the infield caught Cimino between first and second, and he was tagged for the second out of the inning. Zhu then struck out Giaimo to end it.
Sophomore Brandon Lowe (Brier, Wash.), who faced two hitters and got a double-play ball to end the seventh inning, was the winner for MIT. He improved to 2-1 on the season.
MIT will play again at home tomorrow when it hosts Worcester State University at 3:30 p.m. Wesleyan will also play tomorrow, hosting the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at 4:00 p.m.