BABSON PARK, Mass. – April 26, 2008 - Springfield College advanced to the championship round of the 2008 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Baseball Tournament on Saturday, as the fourth-seeded Pride defeated top-seeded Babson College, 6-3, in an elimination game at Babson’s Govoni Field.
With the win, Springfield (16-19) will play the winner of this afternoon's Wheaton-MIT matchup tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Wheaton, while Babson (26-10), ranked third in New England, was knocked out of the tourney.
Springfield snapped a 1-1 tie with three runs in the top of the sixth, beginning when senior Casey Federico (Agawam, Mass.) doubled and later scored on a one-one single by Drew Michael. Two batters later, sophomore Joe Kropa (Cranford, N.J.) launched an RBI-triple to left to make it 3-1, and he trotted home on a single to left by first-year John Schmaltz (Cromwell, Conn.) as the Pride built a three-run lead.
Babson got one run back in the bottom of the sixth when sophomore Brian Scanlon (Lawrenceville, N.J.) singled in junior Bryan Evans (Bellaire, Texas), who had led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a base hit by junior Jeff Wojnar (Bellaire, Texas). The Beavers then cut their deficit to 4-3 in the seventh, as sophomore Jake Bartlett (Weymouth, Mass.) drove in a run with an infield single after Springfield had walked the bases loaded with two outs. However, Pride senior reliever Michael Searles (East Patchogue, N.Y.) got the final out to leave the bases loaded and then stranded a runner at third in the eighth to preserve the one-run lead.
Springfield tacked on two big insurance runs in the top of the ninth, as Federico drove in junior Jamie Mackie (Springfield, Mass.) with a single to center and senior Justin Nussey (Westminster, Mass.) later scored on Babson's third error of the inning. Those runs would prove vital in the bottom of the inning, as the Beavers loaded the bases with two outs against Searles. Springfield junior reliever Jacob Feist (Allentown, Pa.) then came on and induced a game-ending fly out to clinch the 6-3 victory. Sophomore starter Ryan White (Colchester, Conn.) pitched six stellar innings for the Pride, giving up two runs on six hits, walking three and striking out three as he improved to 4-2 on the year. Searles tossed 2 2/3 innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits and striking out six, and Feist got the final out for his first save.
Babson senior Jeff Musante (Woodbridge, Conn.) was also outstanding on the mound for Babson, giving up three runs, two earned, on three hits and four walks while fanning four. The loss evened his record at 3-3 on the year. Senior co-captain Sam Whelan (Milton, Mass.) pitched three strong innings of relief, giving up two runs, one earned, on four hits and fanning three, while senior John Hudspeth (Mount Laurel, N.J.) got the final two outs, giving up one unearned run on one hit and striking out one.
Federico went 3-for-5 with a run and an RBI for Springfield while Michael added a pair of hits. Scanlon went 2-for-4 with his third home run of the season for Babson, while Evans, Wojnar, and Bartlett added two hits apiece.