CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Kendall Helbert (St. Louis, Mo.) delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double in the seventh inning that lifted No. 3 seed MIT to a 6-4 victory over No. 6 seed Mitchell College in a first round game in the 2013 ECAC Division III New England Baseball Championship. The victory was also the 25th win of the season for the Engineers as they tied the school record for victories in a season. MIT will go on to play Elms College in a semifinal game tomorrow.
Mitchell (23-15-1) got on the board quickly in the contest when sophomore Gavin LaLima (Waterford, Conn.) singled to lead off the game, moved to second on a sacrifice and then scored on junior Kenneth Olszewski's (Canterbury, Conn.) two-out single to left. MIT (25-11) tied things up in the third when junior Jon Rea (Palo Alto, Calif.) was hit by a pitch and then came around to score on a triple to the gap in right by senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.).
Both teams scored in the fourth, with the Mariners seeing junior Marc Dorsi (West Haven, Conn.) score on a fielder's choice after leading off the inning with a triple. The Engineers answered with a leadoff double from sophomore Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.), with Tew eventually scoring on a sac fly from sophomore Karl Sorensen (Blacksburg, Va.) that tied things back up at 2-2.
Mitchell came back with two more in the fifth to break on top again. Freshman John Padilla (New Haven, Conn.) led off with a single, eventually getting to third on a sacrifice and a ground out before Dorsi came up with a two-out RBI single through the right side. He then stole second and came around to score on a base-hit by Olszewski. That chased MIT starter, senior Max Ockner (Chesterfield, Mo.), who went 4.2 innings and gave up four runs on six hits while striking out three and walking one.
Senior Kevin Carbon (New Rochelle, N.Y.) walked the bases loaded in the fifth, but junior Jeff Dowling (Branchburg, N.J.) came out of the bullpen to get a double-play ball to end the threat. He then retired the side in order in the sixth before running into trouble in the seventh.
With one down junior Creed Mangrum (Sandy, Utah) singled and then McKinney drew a walk to put two on. Sophomore Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) then singled to bring in Mangrum and make it a one-run game. That brought freshman Al Jordan Johnson (Lancaster, Calif.) out of the bullpen, with the Engineers countering the move with Helbert. After a wild pitch moved the runners up, Helbert delivered his double into the right center gap to put MIT on top, 5-4. Tew then doubled to right with two down to make it 6-4.
Junior Rob Bertucci (Belleville, Ill.), who relieved Ockner in the fifth, had runners on base in every inning he pitched, but gave up just one hit and kept the Mariners from adding any more runs. He picked up the win, striking out two and walking just one over his 3.1 innings. Senior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.) came on in the ninth and gave up a one-out single, but came back to strike out the final two hitters to record his eighth save of the season. Dowling took the loss for Mitchell, giving up three runs in two innings on a pair of hits.
Tew finished 3-for-4 for MIT, driving in one and scoring once. Mangrum had a pair of hits in four trips for the Engineers. Dorsi and Olszewski each had a pair of hits for the Mariners, with Olszewski driving in a pair of runs.
MIT will play No. 7 seed Elms College in a semifinal game tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Tournament host and No. 1 seed Suffolk University will play No. 5 seed Husson University in the first semifinal at Noon. The two winners will play at Noon on Sunday for the championship. All three games will be played at MIT on Briggs Field.