Beavers Force Winner-Take-All NEWMAC Final with Epic Two-Out Rally in 10th
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Jake Oliger (Newtown, Conn.) hit a walk-off grand slam as part of a six-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the 10th inning to send No. 6/6 Babson College past MIT in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament baseball action on Tuesday afternoon at Govoni Field.
With its third straight win, third-seeded Babson improves to 33-6 and will face MIT (21-17-1) again on Wednesday in a winner-take-all NEWMAC Tournament final.
Oliger finished the day 3-of-6 with four RBI, senior Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.) was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored, and classmate Brian McHale (Ramsey, N.J.) doubled twice to go along with two runs scored and three RBI for the Beavers. Fellow senior Eric Jaun (Loveland, Ohio) and junior Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) also chipped in with an RBI in the win.
Junior Thomas Allison (Kingwood, Texas) went 3-for-5 with three RBI, while classmate Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.) homered and doubled as part of a three-hit day for the Engineers. Senior Alec Kushner (Cooper City, Fla.) also homered and drove in two runs in the loss.
Junior Tony Rice (Colorado Springs, Colo.) started the decisive 10th inning with a single, Johnston followed with a double and Allison, who gave up the lead on the hill in the ninth, came through with a two-run single to left to put MIT in front 5-3. Allison went back to the mound with a three-run lead and retired two of the first three batters before running in to trouble. First-year Thomas Lapham (Charlestown, Mass.) worked a walk and McHale drilled the first pitch he saw to the base of the wall in center to bring in two and make it 6-5.
Gill reached on an infield to third and Harrington drew a walk after being down 0-2 in the count to load the bases. Oliger, who struck out in the ninth against Allison, drilled the first pitch he saw over the wall in right center to force a rematch on Wednesday.
The Green and White loaded the bases in the first with a double by McHale, a single by Gill and a walk to Harrington before taking a 1-0 lead on Jaun's sacrifice fly. MIT tied it in the top of the second on Kushner's homer to left. Senior Nicholas Browne (Mount Laurel, N.J.) doubled to left with one out in the bottom of the fourth and came home to score on a sacrifice fly from McHale to put the Beavers back on top 2-1.
The Engineers tied it in the sixth on an RBI single by Allison and then took their first lead of the afternoon on a mammoth solo shot to left center by Johnston with one out in the eighth. Sophomore Henry Leake (Burbank, Calif.) escaped a two-on, one-out jam in the top of the ninth and Babson tied in the bottom of the frame as Gill stroked a one-out double to right center and Harrington followed with an RBI single to force extra innings.
Junior Michael Nocchi (Manasquan, N.J.) started and allowed two runs on five hits to go along with five strikeouts in 5.1 innings for the Beavers, while his counterpart, sophomore Casey Bussone (Danvers, Mass.), fanned six and gave up two runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings for MIT. Senior Max Tannenbaum (Coral Springs, Fla.) pitched the 10th and improved to 4-1 on the year with the win for the Green and White, while Allison fell to 0-1 after giving up seven earned runs over 1.2 innings.
Babson and MIT will meet on Wednesday at Govoni Field beginning at 3 p.m. with the winner punching its ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
• The Beavers are 4-0 against MIT this spring and have six of the last postseason meetings between the teams going back to 2016.
• Tuesday's victory was Babson's fourth walk-off and marked the sixth time it has taken the lead for good after the eighth inning this spring.
• Harrington's RBI single in the ninth extended his hitting streak to a season-best 14 games.
• The Beavers have won nine straight postseason games at home and are 37-4 at Govoni Field dating back to April 22, 2017.