WINTER PARK, Fla. – Trailing 5-1 in the fourth inning, the MIT baseball team scored six times in the top of the fourth and then held off a ninth-inning rally by Western Connecticut State University to pull out a 12-9 win this afternoon on the Engineers spring break trip to Florida. Senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.) led the MIT offense, which reached double figures in runs for a second straight game, with a 3-for-5 day with two RBI and two runs scored.
Western Connecticut State (3-6) scored first, putting two on the board in the second. After getting their first two hitters aboard on a walk and a single, Lucas Rosado doubled to bring in both runners. The Colonials added three more in the third, two of which were unearned, on an RBI double by Chris Alberto, a sac fly and another RBI hit from Rosado.
MIT (8-0) picked up an unearned run of its own in the third before breaking through with its big inning in the fourth that saw the Engineers send 10 hitters to the plate. With one down an error, a single and a walk loaded the bases for Eben Bitonte (Wichita, Kan.), whose fielder's choice grounder brought in one run. An error brought home the second run before McKinney singled home the third run of the inning. Another error put runners on the corners for sophomore Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.), who singled in Bitonte with the tying run. Senior Ricardo Perez (Vienna, Va.) then picked up the big hit of the inning, clearing the bases with a triple to put the Engineers on top 7-5 and chase Western Connecticut starter, Tyler Eastwood.
MIT starter, freshman Nicholas Locascio (Naples, Fla.), settled down after the six-run uprising and gave up one more hit until he came out in the sixth. He picked up the victory, going 5.2 innings and giving up five runs, three earned, on six hits. Junior Tim Wilson (Nacogdoches, Texas) and freshman Michael Wymer (Flower Mound, Texas) then came out of the bullpen to hold the Colonials without a hit until the ninth, with Wilson picking up a key strikeout with the bases loaded in the sixth to preserve the MIT lead.
McKinney increased the MIT advantage with a two-run single in the seventh to make it 9-5, with the Engineers taking on a run in the eighth on a sac fly from sophomore Karl Sorensen (Blacksburg, Va.) and two more in the ninth that put the Engineers on top 12-5.
In the bottom of the ninth the Colonials made a comeback attempt against senior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.). The Colonials started the inning with a single and an RBI triple from Alberto to plate one run. With one down an Austin Howard single brought in Alberto before Scott Conetta drew a walk. Zhu struck out the next hitter, but with two down James Annello delivered the second triple of the inning to bring Western Connecticut within three at 12-9. Zhu escaped further damage, however, retiring the next hitter on a groundout to second to end the contest.
Perez had a 3-for-6 day for MIT, including a triple, and drove home a pair. Alberto finished with a double and triple, driving in a pair, with Rosado going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBI.
MIT will play its final game in Florida tomorrow as it takes the field against Wisconsin-Whitewater at 10 a.m. at Lake Myrtle Park.