Worcester, Mass. – Kyle Bonicki (Waterbury, Conn.) blasted a go-ahead two-run homerun and Clark University reached the 20-win plateau for the first time in school history as they defeated Babson College 8-3 in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference baseball action on Tuesday afternoon.
The Beavers, meanwhile, were playing with heavy hearts, seeing their first game action since the sudden passing of their teammate Daniel Cooney late last week.
Score: Clark University 8, Babson College 3
Records: Clark University (20-8, 5-5 NEWMAC); Babson (10-9, 4-3 NEWMAC)
Location: Granger Diamond, Worcester, Mass.
How It Happened:
Babson had several chances early on to jump in front of the Cougars but they were never able to capitalize. They had runners on first and third in the first but Clark starter Conor Walsh (Marstons Mills, Mass.) was able to strike out Mark Webber (Norwell, Mass.) swinging to end the inning.
The Beavers got a leadoff double from Eric Jaun (Loveland, Ohio) in the second but Walsh was able to strike out the next two batters and then get Jake Weiss (Irvine, Calif.) to groundout to escape the inning unscathed.
Babson loaded the bases with one out after Webber singled and stole second. Jaun reached base on an infield hit and then Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) was hit to load the bases, but Walsh worked his way out of trouble with back-to-back strikeouts of Owen Shea (Northboro, Mass.) and Weiss.
Meanwhile Beaver hurler Michael Genaro (Greenwich, Conn.) was moving right along and had retired six of the last seven batters he faced until Derek Lefebvre (Groton, Mass.) blasted his third homerun of the season to left to begin the bottom of the fifth.
Chris Dibble (Manchester, Conn.) singled to left and then moved to second on a Tyler Hutchinson (Greene, Maine) sacrifice and he scooted around to score on a Nick Jordan (Seaford, N.Y.) base hit to center.
The Cougars tacked on another run in the fifth after Teddy Downing (Cambridge, Mass.) smacked an RBI single to center that plated Jordan, making the score 3-0.
Babson rallied to tie the score with one swing of the bat in the top of the sixth. With one out, Jaun singled to short and then Harrington walked setting the stage for Shea who crushed a three-run blast to left, evening the score.
The game was still tied in the bottom of the seventh when Jordan singled to left and Bonicki followed up by drilling an 0-1 pitch from Genaro to just left of dead center field for his fourth homerun of the season.
Now in front 5-3, Clark added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth on a Downing infield single and a two-run single from Adam Chochrek (Foxboro, Mass.).
Downing, who came on to pitch in the eighth, retired the final six batters, including four via the strikeout, collected his league-leading fifth save.
Inside The Boxscore:
Jaun had a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate for Babson, while local product Shea hit his first homerun of the year and the fourth of his career.
For the Cougars, Jordan went 3-for-5 with three runs scored from his leadoff spot, while Bonicki just missed out on hitting for the cycle, going 3-for-4 with a double, homerun and two runs scored.
Downing extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his two hits and two RBI and Zach Kelley (Hadley, Mass.) had two hits as well.
Joe Gouveia (Nashua, N.H.) tossed one inning of relief to get the win for Clark.
Clark is off until this weekend when they embark on a huge NEWMAC West Division series with Springfield College, while the Beavers are scheduled to host UMass-Boston on Thursday before their three-game series with MIT this weekend.