Babson Park, Mass. - April 28, 2012 - The second-seeded Springfield College baseball team could not complete its ninth-inning rally as it fell to third-seeded Babson College, 4-3, in the opening round of the 2012 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Double-Elimination Baseball Tournament at Babson's Govoni Field on Saturday.
Babson's Conor Kortmann hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning and sophomore Matt Grenier pitched out of a jam in the ninth to highlight the victory.
With the win, the Beavers (21-16) move to the winners' bracket where they will face top-seeded Wheaton College in Norton later today. Meanwhile, Springfield (19-14) will play fourth-seeded WPI in an elimination game at Babson. Both of those games will begin approximately 45 minutes after the arrival of the traveling team.
Playing as the home team, Springfield jumped in front in the bottom of the first inning, beginning when first-year Steve Starr led off with a single and stole second. He then took third on a base hit to right by sophomore Sean Smith and scored on an RBI-groundout to second by sophomore Mike McGowan.
Babson tied the contest in the top half of the third, as junior Trevor Boyce slapped a clutch two-out single through the left side that scored classmate John Botelho from third. The Beavers then took their first lead of the day in the sixth, when senior captain Travis Jonasson drew a one-out walk and, two batters later, Kortmann smashed a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right-center for a 3-1 Babson advantage.
The Beavers got a key insurance run in the top of the eighth, beginning with a lead-off walk to Jonasson. After the next two batters flied out, senior captain Sean Cleary laced a single into the right field corner and the throw back into the infield got away, allowing Jonasson to scamper home with Babson's fourth run of the game.
That would prove critical in the bottom of the ninth, as Springfield rallied with two runs to get back to within one. McGowan started the inning with a solo homer to right-center, and sophomore Frank Calabrese followed with a single to left. After a deep fly out, juniors Matt Milano and Kyle DiFranco hit back-to-back singles, loading the bases with only one away.
With the tying and winning runs on base, Grenier induced a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of senior Mike Corletta for the second out of the inning, but Calabrese scored on the play to make it 4-3. Grenier then got first-year Shane O'Leary to foul out to catcher Cleary behind the plate, finishing off the 4-3 Babson victory.
Grenier (5-1) went all nine innings on the hill for the Beavers, allowing three runs on eight hits, walking none and striking out four. In addition to Kortmann's homer and Boyce's RBI single, Babson managed just two other hits on the day - Cleary's single to right in the eighth and a single to right-center by junior Pat Matvichuk that helped set up the Beavers' run in the third.
Sophomore Alex Williams started and took the loss (1-1) for the Pride, giving up three runs on three hits, walking four and fanning two in six innings of work. Senior Adam DeFelice came on and got one out in the seventh before classmate Craig Zysk went the final 2 2/3, allowing one unearned run on one hit and one free pass. Starr was the game's lone player with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while McGowan knocked in a pair of runs.