Babson Park, Mass. - April 20, 2012 - The Springfield College baseball team plated five runs in the top of the ninth to knock off Babson College, 6-4, in a key New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest on Friday afternoon.
The Pride erased a three-run deficit to win its fourth straight win, improving to 16-12, 9-7 in league play. The loss snaps Babson’s six game winning streak and dropped them to 20-12 overall and 10-6 in the NEWMAC.
Both offenses started slow as Springfield starter sophomore Alex Williams and Babson sophomore righty Matt Grenier were sharp early. Williams worked around a single hit and a walk over the first four innings, while Grenier allowed just three hits over his first five innings of work.
The Beavers got on the board first in the bottom of the fifth inning as junior shortstop Pat Matvichuk hit a two-out single through the right side to score senior Billy Miller with the game’s first run.
The advantage was short lived, however, as first-year outfielder Steve Starr led off the top of the sixth inning with a double to left center, and would score two batters later on a two-out single from sophomore Frank Calabrese as the Pride would pull even at 1-1.
The Beavers appeared ready to take control from there, plating single runs in each of the next three innings for a 4-1 lead heading into the ninth. Miller drove home junior Trevor Boyce to re-take the lead in the sixth with an RBI groundout after Boyce had walked and junior Chris Kucher had moved him to third on a single. Babson made it 3-1 in the seventh when Matvichuk reached with a two-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error before scoring on first-year Dillon Gonzalez’ single through the right side. Miller would plate Kucher for a three-run advantage on sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Springfield did not go away, rallying for five runs in the ninth inning. Calabrese led off with a single before Grenier walked junior Matt Milano and gave up a single to junior Kyle DiFranco to make it 4-2 with one out. Senior Rick Gilbody relieved Grenier and was greeted by senior Mike Corletta, who drilled a 3-2 pitch off the wall in left center for a double, scoring pinch runner Tom Burke and DiFranco. A Babson throwing error as Corletta was running to third allowed him to come all the way around as the ball went out of play, giving the Pride their first lead of the afternoon at 5-4.
Springfield tacked on an insurance run as first-year Shane O’Leary, who had walked, came in to score on sophomore Mike McGowan’s single to right field, giving the Pride a 6-4 lead heading to the bottom of the ninth inning.
Senior reliever Craig Zysk who had come on in the eighth inning, worked a perfect ninth inning to grab his team-leading fifth victory of the season. Williams went 5 1/3 innings give up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks for the Pride.
Grenier worked 8 1/3 innings for Babson giving up four earned runs on eight hits while striking out two and walking one. Gilbody (4-1) gave up two earned runs on three hits in 2/3 of an inning for his first loss of the season.
Miller extended his hitting streak to 11 games while driving in two runs and scoring once and Matvichuk went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored to pace the Beavers.
Starr, McGowan, Calabrese, DiFranco, and Corletta each collected two hits for Springfield.
The teams will complete NEWMAC regular season play in Springfield tomorrow with a doubleheader starting at 11:00 am.