BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Ryan Arena (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) hit the go-ahead home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift second-seeded Babson College to a 3-2 win over fifth-seeded MIT in the opening game of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament championship series on Saturday afternoon at Govoni Field.
With its 11th straight win, Babson is now 24-13 overall, while MIT slips to 21-13-1 on the year.
Junior Mark Webber (Norwell, Mass.) blasted a two-run homer and sophomore Eric Jaun (Loveland, Ohio) singled and scored for the Beavers. Junior Teddy Carey (Upton, Mass.) struck out nine over seven innings before turning the ball over to senior Ken Rotunno (West Islip, N.Y.), who needed just five pitches to record three outs in the eighth innings and pick up his second win of the year. Junior Matt Cuneo (Ashland, Mass.) tossed a perfect ninth inning to record his ninth save.
Junior David Heller (Fair Lawn, N.J.) and first-year Thomas Allison (Kingwood, Texas) both drove in a run and were two of eight different players to record a hit for the Engineers. Senior David Hesslink (San Diego, Calif.), who fell to 5-4 with the loss, allowed just five hits over eight innings.
MIT had just two hits over the first five innings and Hesslink allowed just two baserunners over the first four innings. Jaun singled with one out in the fifth for Babson's first knock and Webber followed with a two-run home run to right center to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.
Carey breezed through six innings, but the Engineers pulled even in the seventh after stringing together four hits. Allison ripped a two-out single down the left field line to plate first-year Matt Johnston (Portola Valley, Calif.) and Heller followed with a bloop double to left center that drove in senior John Drago (Peoria, Ariz.) to make it 2-2.
MIT junior Garrett Greenwood (Edmond, Okla.) started the eighth with a bunt single, but Rotunno came out of the pen and got junior Austin Filiere (Chandler, Ariz.) to line into a double play before fanning Johnston to end the inning. Hesslink got two quick outs in the bottom of the frame, but Arena drilled his 12th home run of the year over the wall in left center to put the Green and White back in front for good.
Game two of the best-of-three series will begin at 12 p.m. on Sunday at Govoni Field, with game three, if necessary, slated for 3 p.m.
• The Beavers are now 47-36-1 all-time against MIT and have won three of four meetings this season.
• Babson's 11-game winning streak is now just one shy of the school record set back in 2008.
• Arena has now reached base safely in 27 straight contests, while Webber is hitting .421 with five homers and 18 runs batted in during the Beavers' 11-game winning streak.
• Rotunno, who has tossed 10.2 consecutive scoreless innings against MIT going back to last season's NEWMAC Tournament semifinal series, has not allowed a run in 11 straight relief appearances dating back to April 3.