April 6, 2012

Late Runs Doom Cougars, 5-3

Babson Park, Mass.—Babson College rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and added three more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 5-3 comeback win over Clark University in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) baseball action this afternoon at Govoni Field.

Junior right fielder Billy Hocking (Duxbury, Mass.) knotted the game at 2-2 with his first career home run over the right field fence with two outs in the sixth inning, before three straight hits in the eighth inning put the Beavers ahead to stay.

Junior right hander Kyle Lyon (Flemington, N.J.) threw his fourth complete game in five starts this season, allowing only one earned run on six hits while striking out 10, to move to 3-2 on the season.

With its second straight win, and fourth in five games, Babson moves to 12-10 (7-5 NEWMAC), while Clark falls to 6-17 (2-7 NEWMAC).

The Cougars opened up the scoring in the top of the first inning, taking advantage of two Babson mistakes to grab an early 1-0 lead. First-year third baseman Daniel Lima (Manchester, Conn.) reached on an infield groundball and advanced to second on a throwing error. He then stole third base and scored when the throw ended up in left field one batter later, plating the game's first run.

From there, both pitchers settled in as Clark starter Michael Mainuli (Glastonbury, Conn.) allowed four hits and a walk over the first five innings, but got plenty of help from his defense to keep Babson off the board. He induced four groundball double plays, while catcher Matt Asdornvuttikrai (Winchester, Mass.) cut down Hocking trying to steal third after a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth inning to keep the Beavers off the scoreboard.

Lyon was equally as good, working around a one-out double from Asdornvuttikrai in the top of the second inning and a two-out double from senior centerfielder Matthew Bohl (Amherst, Mass.) in the third inning before retiring seven straight batters over the third, fourth, and fifth innings.

The Cougars added to their lead in the top of the sixth inning with Lima as the catalyst once again. He led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch before moving to third on Bohl's bunt that was misplayed by Lyon. Senior first baseman Nicholas Kellogg (Florence, Mass.) brought him home with a groundout to second base, putting the Cougars ahead, 2-0. Lyon would work out of any further damage, closing the inning with a fly out and strikeout to keep the Beavers within striking distance.

Babson finally got to Mainuli in the sixth as junior shortstop Pat Matvichuk (Middleton, Mass.) hit a one-out single up the middle, and after a Dillon Gonzalez (Beverly, Mass.) fly out to left field, Hocking delivered with a two run blast over the right field wall, pulling the Beavers even. Lyon made quick work of the Cougars in the top of the seventh inning before working around a one-out walk and stolen base by Lima in the eighth. Mainuli hit senior catch Sean Cleary (Milton, Mass.) and then walked junior shortstop John Botelho (Tempe, Ariz.) with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but got an inning-ending groundout to set the stage for the Beavers eighth inning rally.

Gonzalez led off with a single but was cut down at second base one batter later as the Clark third baseman, Lima, made a great play on Trevor Boyce's (Canton, Mass.) bunt. The Beavers responded, though, as junior Chris Kucher (Westwood, Mass.) singled up the middle to put runners on first and second before senior first baseman Travis Jonasson (Needham, Mass.) plated Boyce with his single to left field giving Babson its first lead of the day. Senior left fielder Billy Miller (Sagamore Beach, Mass.) followed with a double to right field scoring Kucher, and junior designated hitter Conor Kortmann (Manalapan, N.J.) hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Jonasson, to give the Beavers a 5-2 lead.

Clark got back-to-back singles to start to the top of the ninth inning from senior Shawn Lamothe (Bellingham, Mass.) and sophomore Brian Sullivan (Auburn, Mass.) before Asdornvuttikrai moved the runners over with a groundout to third base. First-year Luke Carter (Brunswick, Maine) was inserted to run for Lamothe and would score on a wild pitch to the next batter, bringing Clark within 5-3 and just one out. Lyon would bear down and close the door on the rally by striking out the Cougars final two hitters, allowing Babson to take the first game of this weekend's three game set.

Mainuli (1-2) went seven and a third innings for Clark, giving up five earned runs on 11 hits, walking two and striking out two. Six different players got base hits for the Cougars, and Lima, who reached base twice, scored two runs. Kucher went 4-for-4 to lead the 11-hit Babson attack, while Hocking went 2-for-3. Seven different Beavers recorded base hits on the afternoon.

Babson and Clark will complete their three game series tomorrow with a doubleheader in Worcester starting at 2:30 p.m.