April 26, 2009
WORCESTER, Mass. - Babson starter Matt Barton was effective over seven and a third innings of work, and centerfielder Peter O'Toole homered for the second day in a row, leading Babson to a 6-3 win over MIT and the 2009 NEWMAC Baseball Championship on Sunday at WPI. The title is Babson's second NEWMAC championship and first since the 2004 season.
Babson was a perfect 4-0 in the tournament, registering two wins over MIT and two more over nationally-ranked and defending NEWMAC champion Wheaton. The Beavers, by virtue of the conference tournament championship, have earned the NEWMAC's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Baseball Championships which will be played in mid-May.
Following a scoreless first inning, Babson broke through in the top half of the second to take an early advantage. With one out in the inning, Brian Scanlon walked and Sean Cleary singled to move Scanlon to third. After Cleary moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, Billy Miller drove both runners home with a clean single up the middle, giving the Beavers a 2-0 lead.
MIT cut the Babson lead in half in the third. Bryan Macomber led off with a single to center, moving to third on two consecutive groundouts. Catcher Dan Hyatt picked up a two-out infield single down the third base line, plating Macomber with the Engineers' first run. Babson was able to get the run right back in the next half inning, with first baseman Travis Jonasson leading off with a single, moving to third on a fielding error, and scoring on a Cleary base hit through the left side of the infield for a 3-1 Babson lead.
The Beavers extended their lead in the top of the fifth. Jake Bartlett worked the count full and drove a single to center leading off the inning. Then, with one out, O'Toole blasted a home run down the right field line, his second round-tripper in as many days after his clutch eighth inning two-run homer that lifted the Beavers over Wheaton 8-7 on Saturday in come-from-behind fashion.
The Engineers would not go away however, tallying single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to stay in the game. MIT starting pitcher Creed Mangrum doubled with one out in the fifth, scoring on Hyatt's second RBI single of the afternoon. In the sixth, David Nole was hit by a pitch leading off the inning, followed by a Kenneth Lin single to center that moved Nole over to third. Nole would score on a Brian Doyle RBI groundout, as MIT pulled to within 5-3.
MIT threatened in the bottom of the eighth, chasing Barton from the game and loading the bases. Babson went to the pen, bringing on Andrew Aizenstadt to try to hold the lead. Aizenstadt, normally a starting pitcher, got Mangrum looking and Hyatt to ground out to end the threat and leave the bases loaded.
The Beavers were able to add an insurance run in the ninth, getting a leadoff double from Cleary and a seeing-eye base hit to right from Bartlett that pushed the lead to three runs heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Aizenstadt closed out the game in the ninth, clinching the NEWMAC Championship for Babson with his first save of the season. The sophomore allowed only a bunt single in 1.2 innings of work. Barton picked up the win for the Beavers to move to 4-1 on the year. Cleary had a 3-for-4 day at the plate, while Jonasson and Bartlett had two hits apiece for Babson (21-15).
For the Engineers (21-11), Macomber was 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Hyatt was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Mangrum took the loss in 4.2 innings for MIT, falling to 2-1 on the season.