March 30, 2012

Van Belleghem's Walk-off Hit Gives MIT First-Ever Win against Wellesley

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After dropping game one, 13-4, MIT earned a walk-off, come-from-behind win over Wellesley College, 4-3, in the nightcap for the program's first-ever win over the Blue in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) softball action on Friday afternoon. Freshman Sarah Van Belleghem (Los Gatos, Calif.) provided the heroics, with a two-out triple in the bottom of the seventh to score senior Nydia Ruleman (Germantown, Tenn.) and give the Engineers a 4-3 victory to improve to 3-10 overall and 1-1 in NEWMAC play. With the split, the Blue are now 4-10 overall and 1-1 in the NEWMAC.

In game one, Wellesley starter, Sarah Schwartzmeyer (Elba, N.Y.), took a no-hitter into the fourth inning before it was broken up by freshman Ellie Fodor's (Trenton, Mich.) RBI-single. The Engineers loaded the bases in the fourth with a pair of walks and an error before Fodor drove in the first run of the game with a base-hit to leftfield. Freshman Kelly Wang (La Canada, Calif.) plated another run after she was hit by a pitch by reliever Lindsay Johnson (Bellingham, Wash.). Tech added a third run later in the frame on Jessica Iacobucci's (Phoenixville, Pa.) grounder.

The Blue opened the scoring in the first with three runs on four hits. Maria LaBouyer (Yuba City, Calif.) hit a one-out double over the centerfielder's head and scored on a single by Jayne Ellis (Mishawaka, Ind.). Ellis' hit began a stretch of five-consecutive Wellesley batters to reach base. Kimberly Cabral (Temecula, Calif.) followed that up with another single and both runners would move up on a double-steal. After Mara Blesoff (Oak Park, Ill.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Ellis was driven in on a single by Taylor Yamauchi (Honolulu, Hawaii) through the left side. Cabral would come home later in the inning on an error by third-baseman, Anna Christensen (Vernon Hills, Ill.)

Wellesley broke things open in the top of the fourth, scoring six in the stanza to push the lead to 9-0. Cabral picked up a pair of RBI's on her single up the middle and Yamauchi and Lauren Goldfarb (Albuquerque, N.M) also drove in runs.

Cabral was 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a pair of RBI. LaBouyer had four hits for the Blue and scored twice. The Cardinal and Gray spread around its offensive efforts, as six different players had hits, four of whom would come in to score.

Both pitchers settled in for game two, as the teams combined for just one run over the first five innings. Wellesley struck first as Blesoff had a one-out single, moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and came home on a base-hit off the bat of Mariah Phillips (Palo Alto, Calif.).

The Engineers had a couple of chances to plate the tying run. With a runner on third and two outs in the home half of the fourth, Christensen laced a ball right at the Wellesley third-baseman, but Blesoff was there to make the play and end the inning. In the fifth, the first two Tech batters reached but Goldfarb escaped the jam with a pair of strikeouts and an infield flyball.

Wellesley added a run in the top of the sixth before the Cardinal and Gray struck for three in the home half to take its first lead of the afternoon. Junior Leah Alpert (Needham, Mass.) led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. Van Belleghem hit a grounder to short but Alpert was able to get under the tag at third base. A bit of hesitation by the Wellesley defense helped lead to the Engineers' first run of the game, as Alpert avoided the tag at home on a grounder off the bat of freshman Karly McLaughlin (Edwardsville, Ill.). After a sacrifice bunt by Christensen, Wang drove in the tying and go-ahead runs with a base-hit up the middle.

The Blue tied things up again in the seventh, with Goldfarb doing the damage via a two-out single to score pinch-runner, Phoebe Walsh-Costell (Worcester, Mass.).

The game seemed destined for extra innings, before Ruleman drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the last. Christensen was unable to advance the runner, fouling out to first, bringing Van Belleghem to the plate with two away. The freshman belted a pitch to deep right-centerfield and Ruleman did not stop running until she touched the plate, giving MIT its first win over Wellesley in 16 tries.

Fodor went the distance in game two, earning her second win of the season while allowing just two earned runs. Fodor retired eight straight at one point between the third and fifth innings. Johnson, the game one winner, took the loss in the second game, allowing the winning run in relief of Goldfarb, who went 5.1 innings and gave up three runs on three hits.

MIT will be back in action on Tuesday, April 3 when it hosts non-conference foe, UMass-Boston for a doubleheader beginning at 3:00 p.m. on Briggs Field. Wellesley continues its NEWMAC road trip with a pair of games at Springfield tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.