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NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal Series Preview: No. 2 Baseball vs. No. 3 Wheaton

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal Series Preview: No. 2 Baseball vs. No. 3 Wheaton

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal Series
No. 2 Baseball vs. No. 3 Wheaton
Saturday, April 29—12/3 p.m.
Sunday, April 30—1 p.m. (if necessary)

Babson is 20-42 all-time against Wheaton in a series that goes back to 1998, but the Beavers took two of three from the Lyons back on April 7-8.

Babson is 5-10 all-time against Wheaton in NEWMAC Tournament play and dropped the first two games of last season's conference championship series against the Lyons. The Beavers will face Wheaton in a best-of-three series for the third time in four years this weekend.

Sophomore Brian McHale scored the go-ahead run on senior Jack Halpin's single in the bottom of the seventh and junior Ryan Arena added a two-run homer later in the inning as the Beavers defeated Wheaton, 6-4, in game two of a doubleheader on April 8 in Babson Park. Halpin went 2-for-4 with three runs scored in support of junior John Floegel, who allowed three unearned runs over 7.0 innings.

Sophomore Jared Sharkey had two hits and two RBI, while junior Dan Southerland gave up just one run over 6.2 innings as the Lyons defeated the Beavers, 7-3, in opening game of a doubleheader on April 8 in Babson Park. Halpin, senior Jake Weiss and sophomore Adam Ayala all finished with two hits for Babson, who stranded 10 runners in the loss.
Third-seeded Wheaton (22-11, 12-5 NEWMAC) has dropped three straight games after suffering a 5-3 loss at Endicott on Thursday. Walsh went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI for the Lyons, who were held to just four hits by six different Gulls' pitchers. Senior Zach Goodwin-Boyd is batting .353 with 11 doubles, six triples, four homers and 33 RBI, Sharkey is hitting .353 with 10 doubles four home runs, 32 runs scored and 34 RBI, and senior Joshua LaJoie enters the weekend at .331 with 14 extra-base hits and a team-high 36 runs scored. Southerland and junior Brady Furdon have combined to go 7-2 with a 3.11 ERA and 78 strikeouts over 98.1 innings, while classmate Joe Bongiovanni is 3-0 with two saves in 13 appearances out of the bullpen.

Second-seeded Babson (19-13, 12-5 NEWMAC) extended its winning streak to six with a 14-4 victory over Wentworth on Thursday. Senior Jake Weiss went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and different players drove in two runs apiece for the Beavers, who finished with a season-high six doubles. McHale is batting .375 with eight doubles, 18 RBI and 22 runs scored, first-year Sean Harrington owns a .541 on-base percentage to go along with eight doubles and 12 RBI, and Arena is hitting .346 with 11 doubles, eight homers, 21 runs scored and 21 runs batted in. Sophomores Michael Genaro and Connor Gill are a combined 8-1 with a 2.98 ERA and a 4.91 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while senior Ken Rotunno is 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA in 13 relief appearances.

Halpin has at least one hit in eight consecutive games, while juniors Mark Webber and David Lennon have a knock in each of their last six outings. Additionally, Arena and Harrington have both reached base in 22 straight contests entering the weekend.

Junior Teddy Carey, who is 4-3 with a league-high 61 strikeouts on the year, went 2-1 with a 0.60 ERA in 15.0 innings pitched in last season's NEWMAC Tournament. He struck out 11 and allowed just seven hits in three appearances, including a pair of starts.

The quartet of Arena, Halpin, McHale and Weiss combined to hit .434 (23-for-53) with four doubles, three homers, 14 runs scored and 12 RBI in April's three-game series against Wheaton. They also struck out just twice in 58 plate appearances.

Four NEWMAC squads appeared in the 14-team NCAA New England regional rankings on Thursday. Babson debuted in 11th position, while Wheaton (2nd), WPI (6th) and MIT (12th) all were part of the initial poll.

The Beavers are batting .351 (26-for-74) with runners in scoring position over the last six games.