CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT moved a step closer to defending its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball championship when the Engineers swept a 2015 NEWMAC Baseball Tournament semifinal doubleheader from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy this afternoon by scores of 4-1 and 5-2. With the victories MIT wins the best of three series and will host the championship three-game series next weekend.
The Bears, who won their first NEWMAC tournament game since 2010 on Friday, drop to 16-14 with two games to play in the season.
In a well pitched first game MIT (20-10), which reached the 20-win mark for the fifth straight year, pushed the first run across in the second inning when senior Reid Bishop walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, and then scored on a base hit by senior Phil Reiser. The Engineers then went on to score single runs in the fourth and fifth that proved to be the decisive scores of the game. Bishop scored again in the fourth, reaching on a fielder's choice, stealing second and then coming around on an RBI single from senior Karl Sorensen. In the fifth freshman Austin Filiere singled with one down and came in to score on a double to left by senior Hayden Cornwell.
That was all the run support that MIT starter, junior Nicholas Locascio would need as he went eight strong innings, allowing just four hits and striking out eight without allowing a walk.
Coast Guard starter, sophomore Luke Sniakowski ended up with an eight inning complete game, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking four.
MIT tacked on another run in the seventh when Cornwell homered to left. Coast Guard avoided the shutout in the ninth, when sophomore Tim Duncan doubled with one down, scoring on a base hit to center by senior Blake Thompson.
Game two saw two more strong starting pitching performances from MIT sophomore David Hesslink and Coast Guard senior Andrew Lucak. The Engineers struck first in the third when junior Kendall Helbert led off with a double, was sacrificed to third and then scored on a wild pitch. The Bears answered in the top of the fourth, getting a one-out double from senior Matt Hanks who moved to third on an error in the MIT outfield. He then came home to tie the game on a sac fly from freshman Alex Murdoch.
Senior Parker Tew led off the sixth with a home run to put MIT back on top, and then the Engineers padded their lead with three in the seventh. Freshman Garrett Greenwood singled and then came around on Filiere's 12th home run of the season. The blast tied the school record for a single season, matching the total put up by Thomas Phillips '09 in 2009. Tew then tripled, coming in to score on a single by Cornwell that made it 5-1.
Coast Guard closed to three runs in the eighth when Murdoch came up with a two-out RBI single up the middle with runners on first and second. From there the MIT bullpen shut down the Bears as senior Rob Bertucci picked up the last out of the eighth and junior Michael Wymer came on to strike out the side in the ninth to earn the save.
Hesslink picked up the win, allowing six hits and an unearned run over six innings, striking out five and walking three. Lucak was tagged with the loss, going six innings and allowing four hits and a pair of runs with five strikeouts and four walks. Sophomore Justin Rebholz retired the final five batters after allowing a single to the first batter he faced.
Cornwell had a pair of hits in each game and drove in three runs for MIT while Hanks led Coast Guard with a total of three hits over the two contests.
MIT will host the NEWMAC finals next weekend against the winner of the series between Wheaton College and WPI, starting with a doubleheader at Noon next Saturday. Prior to that the Engineers will play again Tuesday at Wesleyan University starting at 4:00 p.m. Coast Guard will play next on Tuesday as well, taking on Massachusetts Maritime on the road at 3:30 p.m.before playing Mitchell on Wednesday at 3:00 at Dodd Stadium to close out the season.