CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Junior Corey Laliberte (Fall River, Mass./Durfee) threw 7.1 innings of four-hit ball to propel the No. 17 Wheaton College baseball team to their seventh-straight win, a 6-1 triumph over MIT in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Sunday afternoon at Briggs Field.
Senior Dan Demeo (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a sac fly in the fourth inning for the Lyons (7-1, 3-0 NEWMAC), who competed a season sweep of the Engineers after dropping four of six meetings last season. Wheaton took advantage of three MIT (4-5, 0-3 NEWMAC) errors to score four unearned runs.
Wheaton took advantage of an MIT miscue in the first to grab an early 1-0 lead. Junior Eric Jensen (Gorham, N.H./Gorham) reached on error and later scored on a single to center by freshman Apolinar De la Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical). The Engineers knotted things up in the third when freshman Reid Bishop (Cypress, Texas/Houston Christian) stroked a one-out double just inside the third-base bag. One out later, freshman Eben Bitonte (Wichita, Kan./Wichita Collegiate) brought him home with a double to left.
Another MIT error opened the door for a pair of Wheaton runs in the top of the fourth that proved to be enough to take the win. A walk, an error and a hit batter loaded the bases for the Lyons with one down. Demeo's sac fly to center plated the first run, and senior Hal Landers (Salem, N.H./Salem) singled to right to bring in classmate John Keating (Duxbury, Mass./Duxbury) and put Wheaton ahead 3-1.
The score remained the same until the ninth when the Lyons tacked on three runs to extend their lead to 6-1. Wheaton got back-to-back one-out hits by Landers and Jensen to put two on with one down. After a fielder's choice put runners on the corners with two away, a pair of wild pitches led to the first run of the inning. Senior Dan Haugh (Andover, Mass.) singled in another run, and Keating capped the scoring when the MIT second baseman couldn't handle his grounder, allowing Haugh to score from third.
Laliberte surrendered just the one run with two walks and two strikeouts to earn his first win of the season. Senior David Longley (Brunswick, Maine) picked up the save with 1.2 innings of hitless relief. Landers and junior Sean Ryan (Norton, Mass./Norton) each recorded two hits.
Junior Henry Zhu (Overland Park, Kan.) started for MIT and gave up three runs (all unearned) and four hits over his six innings of work. With the loss, his record falls to 0-1.
Wheaton returns to action on Tuesday with a 3:30 p.m. contest against Suffolk at Sidell Stadium. MIT travels to Eastern Nazarene on Wednesday for a 3:30 p.m. contest.