AUBURNDALE, Fla.—Babson College nearly erased a five-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning before falling 10-9 to Benedictine (Ill.) University in non-conference baseball action on Sunday morning at Lake Myrtle Park.
Babson, which saw its five-game winning streak come to an end, is now 6-2, while Benedictine improves to 4-2 on the year.
Senior Ryan Arena (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), who hit his first home run of the season, and sophomore Matthew Valente (Wyckoff, N.J.) each had two hits, while junior Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.) smacked a two-run homer for the Beavers. Valente and fellow sophomore Jake Oliger (Newtown, Conn.) also drove in two runs apiece in the loss.
The trio of Michael Chaffin (Mascoutah, Ill.), classmate Jimmy McLaughlin (Schaumburg, Ill.) and first-year Jack Surin (Plainfield, Ill.) combined for seven hits and seven runs batted in to lead the Eagles' 14-hit attack. Sophomore Ryan Miller (Eldridge, Iowa) earned his first victory of the season after giving up three earned runs on three hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts in 7.1 innings.
Arena homered in the first and Gill gave the Green and White a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly in the third. Benedictine got an RBI double from Chafin and a run-scoring single from McLaughlin to take a 3-2 lead in the sixth before scoring four more times with two outs in the seventh. McLaughlin came through with a two-run single and Surin drove in another run to extend the margin to 7-2.
Trailing 8-2 in the eighth, Valente cracked a two-run double and then scored one batter later when Oliger reached on an error to pull within 8-5. The Eagles added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the ninth before the Beavers rallied for four runs in the bottom of the frame.
Gill hit a two-run homer to cut the deficit to 10-7, and Oliger followed a walk by sophomore Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) and another double by Valente with a two-run single to make it a one-run game with just one out. Despite allowing four runs in 1.2 innings, Benedictine closer junior Marty Maves (Oswego, Ill.) responded with back-to-back strikeouts to strand Oliger at first and end the threat.
Senior John Floegel (Summit, N.J.) struck out six and gave up five runs over 6.1 innings to fall to 0-1 on the year. Three Babson relievers gave up five runs, three of them earned, over the final 2.2 frames.
The Beavers return to action on Monday when they take on New Paltz at 10 a.m.
• Sunday's matchup was the first in program history for Babson against Benedictine.
• McHale extended his hitting streak to 18 games, which is now tied for the fourth longest in program history.
• Sunday's loss was just the fifth in 29 games for Babson when scoring six or more runs dating back to the start of last year.