Doubleheader Preview: Softball vs. Springfield

Doubleheader Preview: Softball vs. Springfield

Softball vs. Springfield
Friday, April 20—3/5 p.m.
Alumni Field—Babson Park, Mass.

Babson and Springfield will meet for the 57th and 58th times on Friday afternoon in a series that dates back to 1999. The Beavers are 21-35 all-time against the Pride and won three of the final four matchups between the teams last season.

Sophomore Jacqueline Paul hit a grand slam as part of a six-run sixth inning as Babson rallied to defeat the Pride, 8-3, in the NEWMAC Tournament championship game on May 6, 2017, in Springfield. Junior Ashley Tango had a triple and drove in two runs, while sophomore Tori Roche doubled twice and had one RBI for the Beavers. Senior Kristen Drobiak hit a two-run homer in the first inning for Springfield.

Senior Talia Loda tossed a four-hit shutout as the Pride defeated Babson, 2-0, in a NEWMAC Tournament winner's bracket game on April 29 in Worcester. Drobiak had two hits and drove in a run for the Pride, which scored twice in the third inning. First-year Brooke Stock struck out six and allowed just one earned run on four hits for the Beavers, who left the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

Springfield (21-9, 7-7 NEWMAC) has won three of its last four games after sweeping Westfield State on Wednesday. Yaixsa Vargas hit a two-run home run in the opener and Allie Wheeler homered and drove in three runs in game two as the Pride edged the Owls 2-1 and 7-4. Drobiak leads the conference in batting average (.452), extra-base hits (23) and runs batted in (39), Carianna Gasdia is batting .430 with 17 stolen bases and 12 RBI, and Vargas is hitting .408 with 11 doubles, two homers and 14 runs driven in. Loda is 10-4 with a 1.50 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 93.1 innings, while junior Shelby Allen has gone 7-5 with a 3.08 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 75.0 innings pitched.

Babson (20-10, 10-4 NEWMAC), which is fifth in the initial NCAA regional rankings, defeated Smith 14-4 and 9-0 in six innings on Wednesday. Senior Samantha Smith had five hits, including a double and a triple, while classmate Eric Pavlo and junior Annie Quine both had four hits and combined to drive in nine runs over two games for the Beavers. Paul is batting .370 with five extra-base hits and 26 runs batted in, Tango is hitting .362 with 10 doubles and 18 RBI, and Quine enters the weekend with a .362 average to go along with 10 extra-base hits and a team-high 27 runs driven in. Senior Ali Reilly is 12-3 with a 2.58 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 97.2 innings, while Stock has gone 6-5 with a 2.15 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 62.0 innings pitched.

The Beavers are one of six NEWMAC squads to make an appearance in the initial NCAA New England rankings. MIT and WPI are second and fourth, respectively, Springfield is 10th and Saturday's opponent Coast Guard is eighth. Emerson, who split a doubleheader with Babson last Saturday, is also ninth.

Paul and Tango each had six hits and combined to drive in nine runs in five games last season, while Smith batted .385 (5-for-13) with a pair of doubles last season. In the circle, Stock and Reilly fanned 32 batters in 38.0 innings and posted a 2.21 ERA to go along with one shutout.

Junior Josephine Mares is tied for second in the league in walks (16), Quine is fifth in RBI (27) and tied for ninth in runs scored (27), and Tango is tied for sixth in doubles (10). In the circle, Reilly ranks first in strikeouts (80), is tied for second in wins (12) and ranks eighth in ERA (2.65).

The Beavers are batting .336 (48-for-143) with runners in scoring position over their first 14 conference games.