Beavers Turn Triple Play in the 7th, Go Ahead on Arena's Two-Run Blast in the 8th
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Ryan Arena (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) hit the go-ahead home run in the bottom of the eighth as Babson College defeated MIT, 6-5, in the opener of a three-game New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball series on Friday afternoon at Govoni Field.
With the win, Babson improves to 11-10 overall and 5-3 in conference play, while MIT drops to 12-7-1 overall and 6-4 in the NEWMAC.
Arena, who also doubled, went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored, while junior Adam Ayala (Franklin Lakes, N.J.) had three hits and also scored a pair of runs. Senior Jack Halpin (Glastonbury, Conn.) finished with two RBI for the Beavers, who turned a pair of double plays and a triple play in the victory.
Junior Austin Filiere (Chandler, Ariz.) went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI, while sophomore Jared Schwait (Boca Raton, Fla.) reached base four times and drove in a run for the Engineers.
Filiere tied the game with a two-out homer in the top of the third, but the Green and White responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. Senior Jake Weiss (Irvine, Calif.) and Ayala started the inning with back-to-back singles before coming around to score to give the hosts a 3-1 edge.
MIT tied the game again in the fifth as junior Max Lancaster (Attleboro, Mass.) scored on Schwait's RBI single and sophomore Alec Kushner (Cooper City, Fla.) raced home on a wild pitch. Filiere gave the Engineers a 4-3 lead with an RBI double in the seventh, but Babson escaped further damage by turning a triple play. Senior pitcher Ken Rotunno (East Islip, N.Y.) fired to first for one out and the Beavers tagged out a pair of runners on the base paths to end the frame.
The Green and White went ahead for good with three runs in the eighth. Ayala led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on an error before coming home with the tying run on a base hit to center by Halpin. Arena then greeted Engineers' first-year reliever Zachary Kopstein (Tiburon, Calif.) with a two-run blast off the scoreboard in left field for a 6-4 advantage.
MIT got one run back when Filiere drew a bases loaded walk with one out in the ninth, but Babson sophomore shortstop Brian McHale (Ramsey, N.J.) snared junior Garrett Greenwood's (Edmond, Okla.) liner and fired to Ayala covering second base for a dramatic game-ending double play.
Rotunno earned his first win of the year with two scoreless innings in relief of sophomore Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.), who struck out a career-high seven in 6.0 innings. Senior Matt Cuneo (Ashland, Mass.) gave up one unearned run in the ninth to record his third save of the year.
Senior David Hesslink (San Diego, Calif.) took the loss to drop to 4-2 on the year for the Engineers after alloweing four earned runs on nine hits over 7.1 innings.
The teams will complete their three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday in Cambridge beginning at 12 p.m.
• The Beavers are now 45-35-1 all-time against MIT and have won four of the last five meetings going back to last season.
• Arena and Weiss both extended their hitting streaks to 11 games, and first-year Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) has now reached base safely in 12 straight contests.
• In his last two appearances against MIT, Rotunno has tossed seven scoreless innings while giving up just two hits.
• Babson is now 9-1 this season when finishing with more hits than its opponents.