SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College baseball team split a twin bill with NEWMAC opponent MIT at Archie Allen Field on Saturday. A five-run sixth inning sparked a 10-2 win for the Engineers in game one, whereas the Pride secured a 4-3 victory in the latter matchup.
Brian Johnson hit the mound for his fourth start of the season to kick off the doubleheader. He struggled with command in the first inning and the Engineers took advantage — plating two runs.
“The first inning I was a little wild,” Johnson said. “It’s just getting the big outs in the big spots, and I just didn’t do that today.”
Mark Joao lined a homer over the right field fence to kick off the fourth. Later in the inning, with Noah Bleakley on third, Ryan Smith notched a two-out RBI single to tie the game, 2-2.
Johnson started getting into a groove, as he compiled nine strikeouts after striking out the side in the fifth.
“I felt pretty good. It’s probably the best I’ve felt in terms of all my pitches working so far this year so I was happy about that.”
Although, MIT broke through in the sixth. A couple of one-out singles followed by a walk loaded the bases. Johnson struck out the next hitter before uncorking a wild pitch to allow the go-ahead run.
“I was a little tired,” Johnson said. “It was a couple missed spots that killed me and I think that’s just the story of the game.”
A couple pitches later, Zach Roberts laced a triple into the left center gap to score two more runs. Johnson was pulled after 5.2 innings, but not before Tony Rice followed with an RBI single to make it 6-2.
“(MIT) won some of those one-on-one battles in that inning and that’s where we lost the game,” Pride head coach Mark Simeone said. “They scored more runs in one inning than we scored in the whole game so that big inning hurt us and they took advantage.”
Springfield’s bullpen allowed three more runs to score in relief in addition to Johnson’s inherited runner when he was pulled.
“(MIT) hit well in the big spots,” Johnson said, who finished with ten strikeouts.
Alex Denoyelle slugged his first home run of the season and Springfield’s third in the last three games played at Archie Allen Field, as the Pride held on for a tight 4-3 victory in the evening matchup.
MIT tagged Shawn Babineau for a double followed by a triple to initiate game two. Denoyelle stepped up to the plate with one out and Jason Bean — who led off the frame with a triple — standing on third base.
The senior catcher worked a long count before feasting on a fastball and sending it over the left center field fence.
“I knew it had a good shot of falling,” Denoyelle said. “As soon as I heard the dugout go, I knew (it was gone).”
Johnson added, “I had a feeling. (Alex) was due. He was jacked up.”
The Engineers rallied to tie in the fourth. Bean gave the Pride its lead back in the fifth with an RBI single.
“We were looking for some more offense,” Simeone said. “I thought we had better at-bats in the second game. We’re going to need them to beat good teams.”
After the fourth inning, Babineau kept the MIT bats quiet until he exited after eight innings of work. The southpaw retired 12 of the final 14 batters he faced and induced a pair of momentum shifting double plays.
Springfield received insurance in the sixth inning, as an error scored Noah Bleakley to give the Pride a 4-2 lead.
Babineau allowed just two runs and struck out nine in his second win of the season.
“That’s Shawnie B,” Denoyelle said. “Electric as always. His stuff was moving and he was hitting his spots.”
John Daley, despite allowing a run in the ninth, locked down his first save of the season. That was a big momentum swing for us and we were able to survive.”
“(Alex’s HR) was a big momentum swing for us and we were able to survive,” Simeone said. “At least now we know the ball is capable of leaving the park.”
With the pair of home runs on Saturday, Springfield has hit a home run in each of their first four games at Archie Allen. The team already has seven home runs in 16 games and is on pace to increase their total of 11 through 39 games last season.
“It’s crazy because we didn’t have any home runs at Archie Allen last year,” Johnson said. “I was happy for Alex.”