WORCESTER -- MIT scored in each of the final seven innings of the opening game to pull away for a 17-9 victory and then put up four runs in the top of the ninth inning to go ahead late in a 9-5 win in a back-and-forth nightcap as the fifth-seeded Engineers swept their NEWMAC Baseball Semifinal best-of-three series versus top seed and host WPI in a doubleheader played Saturday afternoon at Clark.
MIT (20-10-1 and ranked 12th in NCAA New England Regional Poll) advances to next weekend's NEWMAC Championship series and will travel to second-seeded Babson, which swept third-seeded Wheaton in the other semifinal series. WPI (25-12 and ranked sixth in New England) awaits word on a possible NCAA Pool C selection on Sunday, May 13th.
Max Lancaster (Attleboro, MA) led the MIT offense, hitting a pair of three-run home runs and going a combined 5 for 11 with 7 RBIs across the two wins.
WPI's Matt Howard (Worcester, MA) and Nick Comei (Haverhill, MA) had multiple hits in both games, combining for 10 of the Boynton Hillers' 21 hits, scoring six times and driving in seven of WPI's 14 runs. Anthony Capuano (Stoneham, MA) blasted a two-run homer in both.
Howard led off with a single in the second inning for the first of his three hits in the opening game and then Capuano followed with his first two-run homer.
MIT cut it to a 2-1 WPI lead in the third inning as Kyler Kocher (Mesa, AZ) singled in Austin Filiere (Chandler, AZ), and then Thomas Allison (Kingwood, TX) came in to score on a wild pitch in the fourth inning to tie it up.
The visitors rallied four-run fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead, highlighted by a Jared Schwait (Boca Raton, FL) two-run triple to right field with two outs. He then scored on a Garrett Greenwood (Edmond, OK) single into right field.
Howard (3 for 5) responded with a grand slam for WPI in the bottom half of the inning, sending a shot over the left field wall to tie up the game at 6-6.
Lancaster (2 for 6, 3 runs scored) put MIT back in front with a go-ahead three-run home run of his own to put the Cambridge Engineers up, 9-6, in the top of the sixth inning, and then Filiere (2 for 6, 2 RBIs, 2 runs scored) hit a two-run shot in the seventh as the visitors jumped to a 11-6 lead.
Greenwood (3 for 7, 3 RBIs) slugged a two-run ground-rule double to right field in the eighth inning and then Allison (3 for 6, 2 RBIs, 3 runs scored) added a two-run base hit in the ninth inning for MIT.
WPI rallied to score three runs in the bottom half of the ninth and cut it to 17-9, starting with a Ryan Tropeano (Pembroke, MA) RBI triple that brought around Austin Lindner (West Windsor, NJ) to score from first base.
Comei (2 for 3, 2 runs scored), who reached base five times, followed with a two-run home run on the next at bat for fourth long ball to left field of the game.
MIT's John Drago (Peoria, AZ) went 4 for 5 and scored three times in the opening game, while Kocher, Schwait and Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, CA) also had multi-hit games for the visitors.
WPI's Steven D'Agostino (Shrewsbury, MA) and MIT's Zachary Kopstein (Tiburon, CA) each tossed six innings in the more competitive second game.
Again, the host Engineers went ahead early, this time on a first inning RBI single into center field by Howard that brought around Tropeano to make it 1-0.
Capuano hit his second two-run home run of the day in the bottom of the third inning, also scoring Steven Gallagher (Coventry, RI) to push it to a 3-0 lead.
MIT tied up the game in the top of the fourth after Johnston, Kocher and Drago all got hits to open the inning and then later scored. Lancaster got the fourth straight hit, singling to cut it to 3-1, and then the visitors scored on a fielder's choice by Allison and a ground out from David Heller (Fair Lawn, NJ).
The Cambridge Engineers went ahead after Greenwood scored on a balk in the fifth inning, but WPI leveled it at 4-4 in the sixth inning after Howard led off with a double and then scored on a sacrifice fly by David Larson (Port Tobacco, MD).
The same happened again in the seventh inning as Drago walked with the bases loaded to bring in Schwait and give MIT a 5-4 advantage, but then Comei hit a solo shot to left for his second home run of the day to make it all square at 5-5.
Filiere walked, stole his way to third and then scored on a single by Johnston (2 for 4, 2 runs scored) to send the visitors back in front, 6-5, in the top of the ninth, and then Lancaster (2 for 5) spaced out the lead with a three-run homer.
Jack Murphy (Pleasanton, CA) pitched a scoreless final 1-1/3 innings to pick up the win for MIT.