Babson Park, Mass. -- April 1, 2010 -- Freshman Lou Nucci scampered home from third with two outs in the top of the 11th inning on a wild pitch, and the Springfield College baseball team hung on to defeat Babson College, 4-3, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference contest this afternoon at Govoni Field. With the win, Springfield evened its record at 8-8 overall, and is now 2-1 in NEWMAC play. The Beavers, ranked second in New England, now own a 12-3 overall record, 4-1 in the league.
The loss for Babson snapped a 12-game winning streak.
Junior Mark Grant (Danbury, Conn.) started and went six strong innings for the Pride, giving up two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out four in the no-decision. Junior righthander Darryl Smith (Patchogue, N.Y.) came on in relief and earned the win with four innings out of the bullpen, giving up one run on three hits, walking one and fanning four as he improved to 2-1 on the year. Sophomore Adam DeFelice (Avon, Conn.) pitched the bottom of the 11th and allowed just one hit while striking out a pair to earn his second save.
The last of five Babson hurlers, first-year Brian Swanton (Foxboro, Mass.) suffered his second loss of the spring despite not allowing a hit in the 11th, as he gave up one run on two walks and a wild pitch. Senior Zach Rubin (Arlington, Mass.) started and went six innings for the Beavers, allowing three runs on six hits, walking two and fanning three, while sophomore Patrick Doherty (Arlington, Mass.) and senior captain Dave Ahern (Bedford, Mass.) combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bull pen.
Ahern paced the Babson offense with three hits and a run scored, while sophomore Billy Miller (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) added two hits, including his second homer of the spring, a run scored, and two RBIs. Sophomore Billy Besinger (Milton, Mass.) and senior Jake Bartlett (Weymouth, Mass.) also had two hits apiece in the loss.
Sophomore Karl Quist (New Preston, Conn.) went 2-for-3 with his first home run of the year, two runs scored, and one RBI to pace Springfield, while senior captain Joe Kropa (Cranford, N.J.) also had two hits for the Pride.
Springfield jumped out to an early lead in the top of the second, as Quist scored from third on an RBI-fielder’s choice grounder to second by junior Michael Micik (Greenwich, Conn.). Sophomore Mike Corletta (Westtown, N.Y.) would single in junior Brian Harris (East Hartford, Conn.) from second to give the Pride a 2-0 cushion.
Babson got a run back in the bottom of the second, as Miller belted his second home run of the year over the wall in right. However, Quist answered with his first round-tripper of the campaign in the top of the fourth to re-establish Springfield’s two-run advantage.
The Beavers pulled to within one in the sixth, when Ahern singled to left, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a groundout to second by Miller. Babson then tied it the following inning, as sophomore Travis Jonasson (Needham, Mass.) plated first-year Pat Matvichuk (Middleton, Mass.) with a two-out single to center. But the Beavers would leave the bases loaded as Smith escaped further damage.
Springfield nearly regained the lead in the top of the ninth, but a fantastic defensive play by sophomore catcher Sean Cleary (Milton, Mass.) helped keep the Pride off the board. With one out and runners on first and second, first-year Kyle DiFranco (East Longmeadow, Mass.) hit a ball that was bobbled by Jonasson at first. Freshman pinch-runner Mike Sirani (Ghent, N.Y.) then tried to score from second on the play, but Cleary made a spectacular short-hop catch on his backhand side on Jonasson’s throw to the plate and tagged out Sirani to preserve the 3-3 tie.
The Pride finally broke through in the 11th, as Nucci drew a lead-off walk and moved to second on a sac bunt by Quist. The Springfield junior then took third when Besinger made a tremendous backhand play at second for the inning’s second out, and he scored moments later when Swanton’s 1-1 pitch skipped to the backstop.
Babson put the tying run on in the bottom of the 11th, as Miller singled to right to lead off the frame. A sac bunt by Cleary moved him to second, but DeFlice struck out the final two batters he faced to finish off the 4-3 Springfield win.
Up next, on Saturday (April 3), the Pride will host WPI in a doubleheader, starting at 12 noon.