Beavers Extend Winning Streak to 12 with Ninth-Inning Rally
BEL AIR, Md.—Senior Mark Webber (Norwell, Mass.) drove in junior Brian McHale (Ramsey, N.J.) with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to lift No. 21 Collegiate Baseball/No. 23 D3baseball.com Babson College to a 12-11 win over Catholic University in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament York Regional on Thursday night.
With its 12th straight victory, Babson improves to 33-10 overall, while Catholic slips to 31-14.
Senior Ryan Arena (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) went 4-for-5 with a double, a homer and two runs batted in, while Webber doubled and drove in three for the Beavers. McHale also doubled as part of a three-hit day and scored three times, junior Eric Jaun (Loveland, Ohio) and sophomore Matthew Valente (Wyckoff, N.J.) both had two hits, and classmate Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) walked four times and scored a pair of runs in the win.
Senior Brennan Cotter (Oakland, N.J.) doubled, homered and drove in six runs, while junior Bailey Lewis (Matthews, N.C.) went 4-for-6 with a home run and two RBI to pace the Cardinals' 18-hit attack. Senior Jake Crist (Greencastle, Pa.) also homered as part of a three-hit day and reached base five times in all.
Both teams started fast as Crist followed Cotter's two-run bomb with a solo shot to give Catholic a 3-0 lead in the top of the first only to see Arena crank a two-run homer in the bottom of the frame to pull the Green and White within a run. Babson tied it on junior Edward Lehr's (Byram Township, N.J.) RBI double in the fifth and then took its first lead thanks to a sacrifice fly by sophomore Jake Oliger (Newtown, Conn.) in the sixth.
Lewis hit a two-out, two-run homer to help the Cardinals regain a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh before the Beavers responded with five runs in the bottom of the frame. Webber produced a two-run double, Jaun had an RBI single and Babson tacked on two more runs on a throwing error to extend the margin to 9-5.
Catholic came right back in the top of the eighth as Cotter drilled a bases-clearing double to left center to get within one, and then scored on an infield single to pull even at 9-9. Valente again gave the Beavers a one-run lead going to the ninth, but the Cardinals took advantage of two errors and got the go-ahead infield single from Cotter to take an 11-10 lead.
The Green and White once again answered as Oliger singled down the right field line, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by senior David Lennon (Windermere, Fla.) and then raced home with the tying run on McHale's RBI knock. Lehr walked and Arena singled to load the bases before Webber lifted a fly ball to left that easily scored McHale from third with the game-winning run.
Senior Drew Petillo (Bridgewater, N.J.) earned the win to improve to 2-0 on the year with 0.2 innings of scoreless relief for Babson. Junior Connor Gill (Sterling, Mass.) started and earned a no-decision after giving up four runs over 6.2 innings.
Junior Collin Brown (Haymarket, Va.) allowed two runs on three hits in just 0.1 innings and dropped to 2-3 on the year with the loss for Catholic. Junior starter Jon Mierzwa (Laurel, Md.) struck out six and allowed four runs on five hits over 6.0 innings before five relievers were touched up for seven runs in just 2.2 frames.
Both teams are set to return to action on Friday as the Beavers face Union in a winner's bracket game at 7:45 p.m., while the Cardinals will take on Arcadia in an elimination game at 1:15 p.m.
• Thursday's matchup was the first all-time between Babson and Catholic.
• Arena recorded his 23rd multi-hit game and is now the program's single-season leader with 51 runs scored. He also moved into second place on the career list with his 23rd home run.
• The Beavers' 12-game winning streak is the longest active streak in Division III and is one shy of the program record set last season.
• Babson is 13-0 this year when scoring 10 or more runs, 6-3 in one-run games, and has won four times in its final at-bat this spring.