BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Brian McHale (Ramsey, N.J.) homered and drove in three runs, while classmate Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.) struck out six in a complete-game effort as top-seeded Babson College defeated fourth-seeded MIT, 7-3, in its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament opener on Friday afternoon at Govoni Field.
With its ninth consecutive victory, Babson improves to 30-10 overall while setting a new single-season record for wins. MIT, which is seventh in the regional rankings, falls to 19-13 on the year.
Sophomore Matthew Valente (Wyckoff, N.J.) went 3-for-4 with a double, senior Ryan Arena (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) had two hits and an RBI, and junior Edward Lehr (Byram Township, N.J.) drove in a pair of runs for the Beavers. Gill, who improved to 6-1 with the win, gave up two earned runs and scattered nine hits while walking just one.
Senior Garrett Greenwood (Edmond, Okla.) was 3-for-5 with a double, a homer and two runs scored, while classmate Max Lancaster (Attleboro, Mass.) added two hits and drove in a pair of runs to pace the Engineers. Junior Patrick Callahan (Vicksburg, Mich.) started and shouldered the loss to fall to 2-4 after giving up four earned runs on five hits to go along with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings.
MIT got on the board first as Greenwood led off with a double down the right field line before coming in to score on a one-out single through the left side by Lancaster. Gill recorded back-to-back strikeouts to strand a pair of runners on base and escape further damage.
The Green and White took advantage of a pair of miscues to pull even in the second as sophomore Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) reached on an error and advanced to second on a failed pickoff before scoring on junior Eric Jaun's (Loveland, Ohio) two-out, two-strike double to left center.
Greenwood climbed the centerfield fence to rob McHale of a leadoff homer in the third before Babson erupted for four runs, all with two outs, in the fourth. McHale drew a bases-loaded walk to score Valente, Lehr stroke a two-run single to left and Arena hit Engineers' junior reliever Zeke Long's (Albuquerque, N.M.) first pitch through the right side to plate McHale for a 5-1 advantage.
Gill retired eight straight before Greenwood drilled a two-out homer to right in the top of the fifth. Senior David Heller (Fair Lawn, N.J.) singled and Lancaster drove him in with a two-out knock following a Beavers' error to pull within 5-3. Babson answered in the sixth though, as senior David Lennon (Windermere, Fla.) walked and McHale smoked a two-run homer to straight away center to extend the lead back to 7-3.
Gill retired the side in order in the seventh, fanned a pair in the eighth and then finished off his second complete game of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Both teams return to action on Saturday at Govoni Field as MIT takes on second-seeded Clark in an elimination game at 9:30 a.m., while Babson faces third-seeded Wheaton in a winner's bracket game at 12:30 p.m.
• The Beavers are now 51-37-1 all-time against MIT and have beaten the Engineers five times in six NEWMAC Tournament games since 2016.
• Babson improves to 11-1 at home this season and has won 20 of its last 21 games at Govoni Field going back to April 22 of last season.
• In addition to setting a new single-season record for wins, the Beavers also surpassed the program's 1998 record of 315 runs in a season with seven on Friday.
• The Green and White is 21-0 this season when allowing three runs or less.