Cambridge, Mass. - May 2, 2019 - Despite carrying a four-run lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, the Springfield College baseball team fell to MIT, 7-6, in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Tournament's play-in game at Fran O'Brien Field on Thursday afternoon. The Pride, which was the fifth seed in the conference tournament, closes its season with a record of 20-17, while MIT, which was the fourth seed in the bracket, improves to 19-16-1 overall and advances to take on top-seeded Wheaton College on Friday, May 3 at 3:30 p.m.
Springfield College was led offensively by Mark Joao (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), who went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, while Jake Gleason (South Dennis, Mass.), was 2-for-3 with two RBI as well.
Sophomore Noah Bleakley (Granby, Mass.) got the nod for the Pride and pitched a gem, going 7.0 innings, giving up just five hits and two earned runs while fanning six batters. Cole Donovan (Holderness, N.H.) came on in relief before handing the ball off to Brian Johnson (East Haddam, Conn.), who went for 2.1 innings, giving up three hits while striking out a pair.
Springfield College got on the board in the top of the first inning as Brandon Russo (Lisbon, Conn.) led off the game with a ground-rule double down the left-field line, before the senior stole third base and scored on an error by the catcher to give the maroon and white an early 1-0 advantage.
The Pride added four more runs in the top of the third inning as the Pride took advantage of two errors from MIT to take a 5-0 advantage. Alex Denoyelle (Woonsocket, R.I.) led off the inning with a single, before MIT committed consecutive errors on Russo and Jack Cooney (Pittsfield, Mass.), loading the bases with no outs. Next up, Joao laced a single through the left side to score two, before Gleason followed suit with a single through the right side to score Cooney and Joao, who had moved into scoring position following a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Brandon Drabinski (Lisbon, Conn.).
Springfield College added a sixth run in the top of the fifth inning when Jason Bean (Middleboro, Mass.) walked with the bases loaded, scoring Joao, who had led off the inning with a single up the middle before stealing second base.
MIT rallied for a pair in the bottom of the sixth inning, and down four runs in the bottom of the ninth, got the rally started as the Engineers had their first three batters reach safely, before Jared Schwait (Boca Raton, Fla.) grounded out to second, allowing Trey Roberts (Cedar Park, Texas) to cross home, making it 6-3. Later in the inning, with two outs, Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.) took a low pitch over the left-field fence with two runners on to even the game at six and send the contest into extra innings.
The game remained even all the way until the bottom of the 12th inning when Ethan Rolland (Burke, Va.) stepped up and delivered a single down the left-field line, plating Alec Kushner (Cooper City, Fla.) to lift the Engineers to victory.
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