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2017 Season Preview: Baseball

2017 Season Preview: Baseball

BABSON PARK, Mass.--Coming off a 24-win campaign that included the program's first New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament final appearance since 2012, the Babson College baseball team is primed to continue its success this spring.

Under the direction of 15th-year head coach Matt Noone, the Beavers bring back 24 players from a squad that went 24-16-1 before falling to Wheaton in the NEWMAC Championship Series. The Green and White returns some of its top arms and seven position players that made at least 100 plate appearances last year, led by senior Jack Halpin (Glastonbury, Conn.) and junior Mark Webber (Norwell, Mass.).

A two-time all-conference and all-region selection, Halpin hit .369 with 15 doubles, 35 RBI, 33 runs scored and a .438 on-base percentage in 41 starts at first base. After seeing action in just three games in 2015, Webber had a breakout campaign last spring batting .362 with 24 extra-base hits, 33 runs scored and 38 RBI to go along with a .467 on-base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage on his way to earning All-NEWMAC and All-New England honors.

Senior Jake Weiss (Irvine, Calif.), who hit .300 with nine doubles and 18 runs batted in, and sophomore Eric Jaun (Loveland, Ohio), who batted .296 with 12 extra-base hits and 25 RBI, join Webber in the outfield. Classmate Edward Lehr (Byram Township, N.J.) appeared in 27 games, mainly as the designated hitter, and drove in 24 runs, while junior Ryan Arena (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) saw action in eight contests and finished with one extra-base hit.

Junior Adam Ayala (Franklin Lakes, N.J.), one of five returning infielders that played in at least 22 games last spring, batted .366, scored 35 times and set a new single-season record with 25 stolen bases on the way to earning second-team all-league honors. Senior Owen Shea (Northborough, Mass.) has appeared in 91 games over the last three years and is a career .268 hitter, while sophomore Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.) batted .310 with six doubles and 16 RBI in 38 starts at second base as a rookie.

Junior David Lennon (Windermere, Fla.) hit .277 with five doubles in 25 contests last season, and sophomore Brian McHale (Ramsey, N.J.) batted .271 and turned 13 double plays in 18 starts at shortstop.

Headlining the Babson pitching staff is junior Teddy Carey (Upton, Mass.), who went 4-3 with a 2.84 earned run average and 42 strikeouts in 50.2 innings in 2016. Senior Ken Rotunno (East Islip, N.Y.) and sophomore Daniel Cooney (Verona, N.J.) both won four games apiece last year, while sophomore Michael Genaro (Greenwich, Conn.) finished with a 3-2 record to go along with a 2.97 ERA and an 11.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Junior John Floegel (Summit, N.J.) also made five starts and appeared in seven games overall going 1-0 with a 4.40 ERA.

Junior Matt Cuneo (Ashland, Mass.) anchors a bullpen that was one of the best in the league last season. He finished with five saves and recorded 25 strikeouts in 17.0 innings, while sophomore Max Tannenbaum (Coral Springs, Fla.) went 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 relief appearances.

Lehr, Gill and junior Brett Ender (Skillman, N.J.), who made just one appearance due to injury last spring, should also play prominent roles for the pitching staff in 2017.

"Obviously, we are really excited to get going and begin the season against the defending national champions," said Noone. "It will be a difficult early test but I know we are ready. We have had great workouts all year and we have a nice blend of returning starters and some new faces that make us a well-rounded team."

The Beavers open a three-game series at Trinity (Texas) in San Antonio on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.