MIT, Babson Split NEWMAC Tournament Doubleheader

Junior David Hesslink
Junior David Hesslink

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After falling behind 6-2, No. 4 seed Babson College rallied in the second half of game one of its doubleheader against No. 1 seed MIT in the NEWMAC Baseball Tournament semifinals and went on to take an 11-8 victory. The Engineers came back in the nightcap to blank the Beavers, 6-0. With the split the two teams will play a deciding third game tomorrow that will send the winner to the NEWMAC finals next week. 

Game 1

MIT (20-12) had an early advantage in the first game of the day, scoring a run in the first on a two-out home run by sophomore Austin Filiere (Chandler, Ariz.). Babson (23-14-1) came back in the second to take its first lead of the game, loading the bases with one down on three straight singles. Freshman Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.) drew a walk to force in one run, with the second score coming in on a sac fly by sophomore Adam Ayala (Franklin Lakes, N.J.).

MIT came back with a five spot in the third to retake the lead. Junior John Drago (Peoria, Ariz.) followed a leadoff single with a home run to put the Engineers back on top. MIT went on to load the bases on a pair of singles and a walk for senior Nate Rodman (Corvallis, Ore.), who doubled to right center to plate a pair. An error then allowed another run to score making it 6-2. 

Babson then started pecking away at the MIT lead, getting two back in the fifth on a two-run double freshman Eric Juan (Loveland, Ohio). The Beavers made it a one-run game in the sixth when junior Jake Weiss (Irvine, Calif.) doubled, scoring later in the inning on an error to make it a one-run game.

In the seventh Babson started the inning with a single and a double to put runners on second and third. Freshman Edward Lehr (Byram Township, N.J.) then singled to tie the game at 6-6. With one down and runners on second and third again Weiss singled to center, where the ball was misplayed into a pair of errors that allowed two runs to score and Weiss to reach third. He then scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-6.

After scoring its early runs, MIT was unable to get anything going against the second Babson pitcher, junior Ken Rotunno (East Islip, N.Y.), who allowed just two hits over five innings to pick up the win. The Beavers pushed across two more in the ninth to take a five-run lead, scoring on a wild pitch and the second sac fly of the game by Auyala. MIT managed score twice in the bottom of the ninth, with senior Alec Echevarria (Chula Vista, Calif.) driving in one on an infield hit, but Babson held to take game one.

Most of the damage for Babson was done from the Nos. 5-9 hitters, who combined to collect 11 of the Beavers' 14 hits. Juan and Ayala both drove in a pair of runs to lead Babson, with Weiss scoring three times. For MIT five different hitters had a pair of hits, with Rodman and Drago collecting two RBI. 

Game 2

Junior David Hesslink (San Diego, Calif.) pitched a gem for MIT in the second game, enabling the Engineers to force a third game in the series. He did not allow a hit by the Beavers until the fifth, when they picked up two. It turned out to be the only two hits they would get in the game as Hesslink shut them down over his eight innings, giving up just the two hits and a walk while striking out four.

MIT picked up all of the runs it would need in the second when the Engineers scored four times. Back-to-back, one-out singles brought up sophomore David Heller (Fair Lawn, N.J.), who brought home the first run with a double. Senior Kendall Helbert (St. Louis, Mo.) then followed with another double, scoring two runs to make it 3-0. Helbert later came home on a sac fly by Drago. 

In the fifth MIT completed the scoring when Drago led off with a single and Filiere homered for the second time on the day with one down.

Filiere, Rodman and Heller all had two hits in game two, with Filiere and Helbert driving in a pair each. Senior George Crowley (Watertown, Mass.) and sophomore David Lennon (Windermere, Fla.) picked up the hits for Babson.

MIT and Babson will compete the series with a single game tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. at O'Brien Field in Cambridge.