CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Freshman Nicholas Locascio (Naples, Fla.) hurled a complete-game, two-hit shutout this afternoon to lead No. 3 seed MIT to a 2-0 win over No. 5 seed U.S. Coast Guard Academy in the championship game of the 2013 ECAC Division III New England Baseball Championship. Locascio was named the tournament Most Outstanding Player for his efforts as the Engineers won their second ECAC title.
It turned into a pitchers dual at Briggs Field as Locascio and senior Riley Beecher (Elgin, Texas) both turned in complete game performances and allowed just eight hits between them. Beecher set the side down in order three times in his eight innings, while Locascio recorded 1-2-3 innings six times, retiring 15 straight at one point. Locascio improved to 5-1 on the season, giving up just the two hits while striking out seven and allowing one walk. Beecher gave up just six hits and one earned run, striking out two and walking three as he fell to 4-4.
MIT (27-11) scratched across an unearned run in the second to provide the only score that Locascio would need. Freshman Kendall Helbert (St. Louis, Mo.) opened the inning with a single and moved over to second when a fly ball off the bat of senior Ricardo Perez (Vienna, Va.) was dropped in right for an error. Sophomore K.J. Parent (Knoxville, Tenn.) moved the runners up with a sacrifice before sophomore Karl Sorensen (Blacksburg, Va.) came up with an RBI single to put the Engineers up 1-0.
In the bottom of the sixth MIT added its other run when it started the inning with four consecutive singles. Senior James McKinney (Wakefield, R.I.) and sophomore Hayden Cornwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) started the frame with hits before sophomore Parker Tew (Chapel Hill, N.C.) singled home McKinney. Helbert then singled to load the bases with no one out, but Beecher limited the damage to just the one run, getting a fly out and then a double-play grounder to end the threat.
Locascio did not give the Bears many chances, however, as he retired the side in order from the fifth through the eighth innings. Coast Guard (24-17) did put together a threat in the ninth. With one away senior Eric Gerken (Tampa, Fla.) was hit by a pitch before junior Dave Wollinski (Henrico, Va.) recorded the second hit of the day for the Bears. With two down Locascio loaded the bases with his second hit batter of the inning, plunking senior Tyler Babkiewich (Golden, Colo.). Locascio came back and preserved the shutout by retiring the next hitter on a fly to right to end it.
Ranked sixth in the region in the latest NCAA rankings, MIT will await word tonight to see if it is named as an at-large selection to the NCAA 2013 Division III Baseball Tournament. It would be the second time in three years that the Engineers would play in the NCAA Tournament if selected. The NCAA will release the tournament bracket at 10 a.m. on Monday.