The Springfield College baseball team started NEWMAC conference play on Saturday with a doubleheader against Emerson College. With the help of an offensive surge in Game 1 and a complete game shutout from Shawn Babineau in Game 2, the Pride collected its ninth and tenth wins of the season.
“That’s a team we gotta go out and get one at a time, but get two games from; and bounce back from Thursday, as I anticipated we would, because I knew we weren’t satisfied with the way we played,” Springfield head coach Mark Simeone said.
With a 2-1 deficit heading into the bottom of the third inning, Springfield surged for seven unanswered runs spread across the next two innings to defeat Emerson, 11-3.
Jake Gleason (1-2, 2 RBI) and Jason Bean each drew walks to set up Cam Rivest (2-5, 3 RBI) with an opportunity to tie the game. The junior hit a triple of the left field fence, scoring Bean and Gleason and regaining the lead. Marcel Diaz drove in Rivest the next at-bat, giving the Pride a 4-2 lead.
In the next inning, Mark Joao stepped up to the plate with Chad Shade (2-3, 3 R, 2 SB) at third and Jack Cooney at first with a chance to extend the lead even further. The senior second baseman ripped a single to left field, scoring Shade from third.
Jake Gleason followed that up with shot out to deep center that ended up being a two-RBI triple. Jason Bean (2-2, 2 RBI) kept the line moving with an RBI single as part of a four run inning.
The Lions responded with a two-out RBI single in the fifth, but Springfield came back with three more runs in the bottom half to solidify its lead. Jack Cooney (2-4, 2 RBI) drove in Chad Shade with a single for his second RBI of the game. With the bases loaded, Jason Bean drove in Cooney with a sacrifice fly.
To round out the scoring, Rivest drove in Joao (1-5, RBI) with an RBI single in the next at-bat, his third of the game.
Brian Johnson got the start for the Pride, and picked up his first win of the year with six strong innings. He gave up just two runs on four hits and struck out six batters. His slider kept hitters off-balance and led to the majority of his strikeouts.
“Brian Johnson is a great pitcher. He’s had a little less command to this point in time than Babineau, but he’s just as capable in terms of his repertoire and what he can do,” Simeone said.
Freshmen Dakota Aldrich and John Daley combined for just one hit allowed in the last three innings, while accumulating three strikeouts. Four Springfield hitters tallied at least two hits, and six registered a RBI.
Shawn Babineau limited Emerson to just three hits and struck out 10 as Springfield beat the Lions 4-0 in the latter of the doubleheader.
“I was personally just trying to get ahead of hitters,” Babineau said. “When you get behind in the count you mostly have to resort to your fastball, and their looking to hit that. When you get ahead, you can work with changeup, curveball, slider. “
The southpaw retired the first eight batters before surrendering his first hit; a triple to left field. With one out, Babineau struck out the next batter and induced a fly out to get out of the jam.
Other than that, Emerson posed no legitimate threats at the plate.
“Babineau has been pinpoint. He just puts the ball where he wants it and he does it with all of his three pitches, and he does it with confidence,” Simeone said.
After surrendering a single in the fourth inning, the sophomore retired the next fourteen batters before letting up a leadoff single in the ninth inning.
The combination of Babineau’s two-seam fastball and changeup fed off of each other and froze hitters.
“I had a lot of swing and misses [on my changeup]. I was going in and out well with [my two-seam]. Got a couple K’s on the inside. Then I was starting mostly away two-seam, just getting ahead, and they weren’t really hitting it,” Babineau said.
Simeone praised his pitcher’s confidence following the dominant performance.
“He believes he is better than the guy that’s 60 feet, 6 inches away from him all the time. You gotta have that kind of mentality if you’re gonna be as sharp as he was,” Simeone said.
Offensively, Noah Bleakley enjoyed a 3-4 game with a RBI single in the sixth. Chad Shade (1-3, 2 R) stole two more bases, making that four for the day. Brandon Drabinski (1-3) tallied a RBI with a sac fly in the fifth inning.
Both of these games had totally different lineups, as Coach Sim decided to experiment with his offense today.
“I fully believe in the depth of our club. It keeps our guys hungry. I like the fact that our guys are waiting to hear who I read that’s in the lineup because they know it could be any one of them.”
Springfield continues with three more conference games in the upcoming week. It faces the meat of their schedule within the next month.
“We’ve got our biggest four weeks coming up with five games a week for the next three weeks, and then six in the fourth week,” Simeone said. “We have to be tough mentally and physically.