CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 11th by James McKinney gave the Engineers of MIT a 4-3 non-conference win Thursday afternoon over the Beacons. The game-clinching hit would cap off a late inning rally by the Engineers who going into the bottom of the ninth trailed 3-2, but with a two-run homer from Kendall Helbert MIT forced the extra innings in the only meeting between the two teams this season.
MIT (21-7) took an early lead when sophomore Parker Tew led off the game with a double. With one out he stole second and then came around to score when the throw to third ended up in left field for an error.
The Engineers put the first two aboard in the second, but senior starter Michael Boughton (New Britain, Conn.), responded by striking out the next two hitters and getting the final out on a foul fly to right. He stranded runners in each of the first four innings, but kept the Engineers from getting the big hit. He then retired the side in the fifth and sixth, and finished with just the one run against him in six innings on four hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Sophomore K.J. Parent matched Boughton over the first four innings for MIT before running into trouble in the fifth. A pair of base hits and a walk loaded the bases for the Beacons for sophomore Bryan Failla (Torrington, Conn.) who doubled to the fence in left. The first two runners scored easily, but the third was gunned down at the plate by Tew's relay to Helbert to keep it a one-run contest. Failla went on to have a career day in Cambridge as he drove in a career-best three runs on two hits in five at-bats.
Neither team scored again until the ninth. UMass Boston received a leadoff single from freshman Nick Radcliffe (Randolph, Mass.), who then stole second with one out. MIT would then strike out the next hitter, but Failla came up big again for the Beacons (13-17), singling to center to score what looked to be an insurance run.
With the lead now in their favor the Beacons knew they had to shutdown the Engineers in the bottom of the ninth to keep them from building any late momentum. UMB struck first as they got one out on the scoreboard, but with a single through the leftside would put a runner on first. Even with the runner on base the Beacons knew they could still get out of this unscathed that was until Helbert crushed the two-run shot, his first collegiate home run, to send the game into extras.
Both teams had runners on in the 10th but were unable to score. Henry Zhu came on to pitch the 11th for MIT, and gave up just a one-out single to give the Engineers another chance in the bottom half of the inning. Helbert was key again for MIT as he led off with a single to right and then moved to second on a sacrifice. Steve Roche, who was the fifth Beacon pitcher of the day, struck out the next hitter before McKinney slapped his hit to left to bring Helbert home with the winning run.
Zhu picked up the win with his one inning of work, while Roche was tagged with the loss, giving up the one run on two hits over 1.2 innings. Failla drove in all three runs for UMass Boston with his two hits, while Radcliffe went 3-for-5 and scored twice for the Beacons. Helbert also finished 3-for-5 for MIT, including a double and a home run.
Baseball returns to action on Saturday when they host Plymouth State University at noon in a Little East Conference doubleheader. Saturday's contests will also serve as the first annual Team IMPACT Day as well, as UMB baseball's honorary captain and team member Jake Parker (Braintree, Mass.) will be on hand to throw out the first pitch.
Information for this release provided by MIT Sports Information Department