SPRINGFIELD — Twelve batters stepped up to the plate before No. 14 Babson notched its first hit of Wednesday’s game against the Springfield College baseball team — a single from Jake Olinger that put the Beavers’ eventual third run of the game in scoring position.
Sean Harrington accounted for its second hit — an insignificant single in the seventh. Otherwise, Babson was unable to accumulate any more base hits. Its three runs in a 3-0 victory over Springfield at Archie Allen came via walk, sac fly and stolen base.
“Little things get magnified against good teams in low scoring games and that happened today,” Springfield head coach Mark Simeone said. “When does a team get two hits and win 3-0?”
The Springfield pitching staff issued ten free passes between three throwers. Starter Dakota Aldrich walked the bases loaded in the second inning, and took Alex DiMartino nine pitches in the ensuing at-bat before walking in the Beavers’ firs run.
Simeone pulled the plug directly after, bringing in Kenny Walton to try and dance around a bases loaded, one-out situation. Thomas Lapham proceeded to lift a slicing foul ball into left field that Jason Bean slid and caught. Nicholas Browne strayed too far from first, and Jack Simonetty received the cutoff throw and fired to Noah Bleakley to double up the Beavers and end the inning.
Although, Matthew Valente tagged up and scored from third before the second out was made, so Babson gained a 2-0 lead after one and a half innings.
The Beavers promptly added in the third. Walton walked Harrington with two outs, then Olinger slashed a single to right field, moving Harrington over to third. With Eric Jaun at the plate, Olinger took off for second. Alex Denoyelle fired down, but Mark Joao cut the throw off before it reacher second to try and gun down Harrington taking off for home.
Joao’s throw was too late, and Babson now opened a 3-0 advantage.
“We executed positionally on defense in that situation but didn’t get the good relay throw from the middle of the infield to the catcher,” Simeone said. “All the guys that stepped on home plate for them were guys that got on way on base on balls.”
Springfield did manufacture a couple of run-scoring opportunities. In the first, aggressive approaches from Jack Cooney and Joao yielded consecutive base hits. With runners on first and third with one out, Noah Bleakley got under a fly ball that landed in shallow center field.
Olinger made the catch, and Cooney bolted home trying to give Springfield an early lead. Olinger’s throw was right on target, as Harrington caught it on a short hop and tagged out Cooney.
“I don’t question that decision. We were trying to be aggressive and try and put a little pressure on them. They responded defensively early,” Simeone said.
Again, Springfield created traffic in the seventh. Jason Bean smoked a double into the right center gap, followed by Eddie Martinez legging out an infield hit. Babson opted to go to the bullpen, bringing in William Gallagher to relieve starter Jordy Allard.
Gallagher promptly sat down the next three hitters and ended the threat.
“That certainly was a frustrating component of it. We had a few opportunities to cash in on a couple runs and they won those big spots,” Simeone said. “We’ve got to be better in those big spot situations.”
Babson pitched one batter above the minimum in the final two innings to earn its 18th victory of the season.
Walton allowed just one run and one hit in 3.2 innings of relief, providing some much needed stability for a shaky beginning.
Springfield drops to 5-5 in NEWMAC play and sits at fourth place in the conference standings. With eight league games remaining, the Pride have ample time to break the top three and avoid a play-in game for the first round of the playoffs.
Photo courtesy Jack Margaros