CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Windy conditions on Briggs Field Friday could not stop the MIT and WPI Engineers from contesting two exciting softball games. The result was a pair of 7-6 finals, with each team capturing a victory and both games going to an extra eighth inning.
MIT captured its first victory of the season in the first game of the doubleheader, the opening action for each team in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). Third baseman Jessica Oleinik hit a ground rule double in the bottom of the eighth to bring in two runs and center fielder Keri Dixon singled her in to win the game in walk off fashion for the home Engineers.
The teams headed to extra innings tied at three, but MIT found itself behind after giving up three runs in the top of the eighth. In their half of the inning, they loaded the bases before Nydia Ruleman scored on a wild pitch. WPI was able to get two out but Oleinik and Dixon came through in the clutch.
The hosts grabbed the lead in the first inning with an unearned run, but WPI leveled the score in the third and scored a pair in the fourth to grab the lead. Katherine Fitton tripled then scored on a single by right field Kim Martilla, who would come in later on a bases loaded walk. WPI held their lead until MIT scored a run in the sixth and tied the game in the seventh on first baseman Michelle Dion's double, sending it to extra frames.
Catcher Emily Creedon had three hits on the afternoon, while Dion, Dixon and Bensey Schnip added two hits apiece. Martilla led the visitors with three hits in the first game. Erin Flaherty pitched an inning and two-thirds in relief of starter Allie Hardy and took the loss for WPI, while Tech's Jessica Iacobucci pitched all eight innings to pick up the win.
In the second game, the teams were all-square at 4 heading into extra frames and again WPI put up a big number in the top of the eighth. Iacobucci, pitching in relief of Oleinik, struck out two WPI batters, but allowed a triple down the left field line and then an inside the park homerun by third baseman Maddie Willer to give the visitors a three-run advantage. Willer and center fielder Nicole McDonough, who had four hits in the game, each drove in two runs and scored once themselves.
The hosts attempted a comeback in the bottom of the eighth, beginning with an RBI single by Creedon. With two outs, Oleinik singled home Katie Harrington, one of her three hits in the game, but WPI reliever Christa Coscia got Dixon to pop out to shortstop, ending the MIT comeback threat.
Coscia pitched three and two thirds innings in relief of Flaherty, the starter and allowed two runs on four hits. Oleinik started the game for Tech and allowed four runs on nine hits. She and Iacobucci, who took the loss, each struck out five batters in the second game.
MIT, now 1-2 on the season, will leave tomorrow for their Spring Trip to Orlando, Florida. WPI is 7-5, having just returned from their trip to Florida, and will host Anna Maria in a doubleheader tomorrow.