Beavers Tie Program Record with 12th Straight Win, Capture First NEWMAC Title Since 2009
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Jack Halpin (Glastonbury, Conn.) and sophomore Brian McHale (Ramsey, N.J.) combined to drive in six runs as second-seeded Babson College defeated fifth-seeded MIT, 14-8, to close out the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship series on Sunday afternoon at Govoni Field.
Babson (25-13), which swept both Wheaton and MIT to capture its first NEWMAC Tournament championship since 2009, tied a program record with its 12th straight win on Sunday. The Beavers also secured the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Engineers, who fall to 21-14-1, were making their fourth conference finals appearance in the last five seasons.
Halpin and McHale both had two hits and first-year Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI for the Beavers. Senior Jake Weiss (Irvine, Calif.) had a pair of hits and scored four times, while classmate Owen Shea (Northborough, Mass.) went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in on the day. Junior Mark Webber (Norwell, Mass.), who was selected as the NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, also had two hits and reached base three times in the victory.
Junior Austin Filiere (Chandler, Ariz.) went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and three runs scored, while first-year Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.) added three hits, including a home run and drove in three runs to lead MIT.
Weiss scored on an RBI ground out by Halpin in the third inning to give the Green and White a 2-1 lead. McHale plated Weiss with a double to left center in the fifth to take a two-run advantage and Halpin followed with an RBI single to extend the margin to 4-1.
The teams traded runs in the sixth and the Engineers pulled within 5-4 in the seventh when Filiere smashed a two-out, two-run homer to right center. Babson responded in the bottom of the frame though, as Weiss drew a lead-off walk and Harrington followed a two-out intentional walk to junior Ryan Arena (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) with a two-run double to right center to push the lead back to 7-4.
MIT again cut its deficit to a single run in the eighth behind an RBI double from junior David Heller (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and a run-scoring single from sophomore Jared Schwait (Boca Raton, Fla.), only to see the Beavers scored seven times in the bottom of the frame. The Green and White loaded the bases with back-to-back walks and a bunt single by sophomore Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.), and Weiss drew a four-pitch walk to drive in Webber for an 8-6 advantage. McHale then followed with the big blow, a bases-clearing double to left center, to extend the lead to 11-6.
Babson had five hits, including a triple by Arena, and sent 11 men to the plate in the eighth to build an eight-run edge. The Engineers got a pair of runs back on Johnston's two-run blast in the ninth, but junior Matt Cuneo (Ashland, Mass.) got a pair of ground outs and a game-ending strikeout to clinch the title.
Sophomore Michael Genaro (Greenwich, Conn.) went 6.2 innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out four to earn the win and move to 6-1 on the year for the Beavers. Sophomore Patrick Callahan (Vicksburg, Mich.) took the loss to drop to 5-2 after allowing four runs on seven hits in 5.0 innings for MIT, which saw its bullpen allow 10 runs over the final three frames.
Babson will find out where it is headed for the NCAA Tournament when the field is announced on May 15. Regional play will begin on May 18.
• The Beavers are now 48-36-1 all-time against MIT and 8-7 against the Engineers in NEWMAC Tournament play.
• Babson's 12 straight wins matches the 2010 squad for the most consecutive victories in program history.
• The Beavers' 25 wins are their most since 2011 and just two shy of the school record (27) set back in 2002.
• In four NEWMAC Tournament games, Webber batted .538 (7-for-13) with four home runs, eight RBI and five runs scored.