CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A strong pitching performance by junior Aric Dama (Winfield, Ill.) and a clutch, two-out, two-run double off the bat of sophomore Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah) proved to be the difference as MIT rallied for a 3-2 victory over Rhode Island College in non-conference baseball action. The Engineers collected their fifth-straight win to improve to 21-14 while the Anchormen fell to 23-14 with the loss.
After surrendering a leadoff single to senior Kyle Allaire (Uxbridge, Mass.), Dama was nearly unhittable over the first six innings of the contest. After promptly picking off Allaire at first, Dama retired the next 15 hitters in a row until a Cody Ortega (Kissimmee, Fla.) double in the sixth broke the streak.
Rhode Island College's starter, freshman Stephen Lapatin (Cranston, R.I.) had a strong start as well, holding MIT off the scoreboard until the Engineers scratched across a run in the fifth. After getting the first two batters of the inning, Lapatin gave up consecutive singles to sophomore Sean Karson (Winter Park, Fla.), freshman Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) and sophomore Jon Rea (Palo Alto, Calif.), with Rea's hit bringing in Karson with the first run of the game.
Senior Dan Hopkins (Cranston, R.I.) put the first run of the game on the board for Rhode Island College with a solo home run to right center that tied it up in the top of the seventh. The Anchormen then jumped ahead in the eighth, taking advantage of an MIT error. Junior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.) started the inning on the mound for the Engineers and was greeted by senior Joan Mustafa's (Providence, R.I.) single to center. He moved to second on a ground out and then to third on another ground out, slipping as he rounded the bag. The throw from first to try and catch him off the bag was wild, and he came home with the go-ahead run.
MIT answered in the bottom of the eighth, with senior Torre Swanson (Redding, Calif.) leading off the inning with a walk. After a pop, foul out, senior Eric Blanchard (Warwick, R.I.) came on in relief and gave up a single to senior Bryan Macomber's (Los Altos, Calif.) that put runners at the corners. Blanchard retired the next hitter on a fly to center before Mangrum drove a ball into the gap in left center that plated both runs and put MIT back on top.
Zhu gave up a leadoff single to senior J.P. Stone (Narragansett, R.I.) to lead off the ninth, but retired the next three hitters in order to finish off the win for the Engineers. He picked up the victory, going two innings and giving up a pair of hits and the unearned run. Dama finished with seven impressive innings for MIT, allowing four hits and a walk while striking out five.
Lapatin went 7.1 innings in his start for the Anchormen, allowing nine hits and two runs while striking out a pair. Blanchard picked up the loss, giving up two hits and a run in two-thirds of an inning.
MIT will play its final game of the season on Monday, May 7 when it takes on Suffolk University in a 7:00 p.m. matchup. Rhode Island College will play again tomorrow at Wheaton College at 3:30 p.m.