Baseball Advances to NEWMAC Semis with 7-4 Win at Clark

Baseball Advances to NEWMAC Semis with 7-4 Win at Clark

THE BASICS: 

- Score: MIT 7, Clark 4

- Records: MIT (18-10-1); Clark (26-12) 

- Location: Worcester, Mass. (Granger Baseball Diamond)

- The Lead: In the first round of the 2017 NEWMAC Tournament on Friday afternoon, No. 5 seeded MIT used a 16-hit attack and a seven-inning performance from starting pitcher David Hesslink (San Diego, Calif.) to come away with a 7-4 victory over No. 4 seeded Clark University. 

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- MIT got on the board right away as junior center fielder Garrett Greenwood (Edmond, Okla.) reached on a single to right to lead off the game and later scored on an RBI single to right center from senior John Drago (Peoria, Ariz.). After the Engineers loaded the bases again in the second but didn't find the scored, MIT did add two runs in the third to extend the lead out to 3-0. A single up the middle from junior Max Lancaster (Attleboro, Mass.) scored junior Kyler Kocher (Mesa, Ariz.), while Lancaster later scored on a wild pitch for the three-run edge. 

- Freshman Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.) added another run in the fourth as he launched a solo home run deep into the woods beyond left field to make it a 4-0 MIT lead.

- The Engineers added two more in the top of sixth, including a one-out solo homer to dead center by junior Austin Filiere (Chandler, Ariz.) for the 5-0 advantage. The homer was his NEWMAC-leading 11th of the season and his seventh career home run vs. Clark. Lancaster doubled down the right field line with two outs to score Drago as MIT pushed the advantage to 6-0. 

- The Cougars got on the board to lead off the seventh as sophomore Zach Kelley launched a solo shot to left to pull Clark within 6-1. Tyler Hutchinson came home on a sacrifice fly to right by Chris Dibble for the first out and a 6-2 margin before MIT's Hesslink picked up his fourth strikeout of the day for the second out. A groundout to shortstop accounted for the third out as the Engineers got out of the jam.

- After a hit batter to lead off the eighth, Hesslink gave way to sophomore reliever Jack Murphy (Pleasanton, Calif.) for his team-leading 15th appearance of the season. The Engineers and Murphy ended the inning with a strike out and a caught stealing to keep the lead at 6-2 heading to the ninth. 

- MIT added an insurance run in the ninth as sophomore Jared Schwait (Boca Raton, Fla.) scored on an RBI single to center by Greenwood. Freshman reliever Zachary Kopstein (Tiburon, Calif.) came on for the bottom of the ninth and Clark greeted him with three straight hits to pull within 7-4 with no outs in the frame. Kopstein got out of the jam though with three consecutive strikeouts to wrap up the win for the Engineers.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Hesslink improved to 5-3 on the season with the win, while Clark starter Cal Slepkow dropped to 6-1 in 3.2 innings pitched. Over seven innings, Hesslink scattered six hits with two runs, four strikeouts and no walks.

- Greenwood led five Engineers with multiple hits as he was 4-for-6 on the day from his leadoff spot. Drago and Lancaster, along with freshman Thomas Allison (Kingwood, Texas), each went 2-for-5 while Schwait posted a 3-for-4 outing. 

- Kelley led Clark with three hits, along with two each from Hutchinson and Derek Lefebvre.

- Filiere has now reached base safely in 58 straight games, which is the fourth-longest streak in NCAA Division III history. 

UP NEXT:

- MIT is back in action on Saturday, April 29th as the Engineers take on top-seeded WPI in a best-of-three series in the NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals. Day one of the series will take place at Clark on Saturday in a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m., followed by a 1 p.m. game on Sunday, if necessary. 

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