NORTON, Mass. — Junior Chris Kucher broke the 2-2 tie with a sac fly in the 11th inning and senior Rick Gilbody fired four scoreless frames of relief as the Babson defeated seventh-ranked Wheaton, 3-2, in a match-up of NEWMAC archrivals on Friday afternoon.
Now 8-8 overall and 4-3 in league play, the Beavers snapped the Lyons’ 14-game winning streak. The loss was the first for Wheaton (14-2, 6-1 NEWMAC) in conference play this season.
Wheaton took an early 1-0 lead with an unearned run in its half of the first. Senior Hal Landers led off with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a fielding error, and scored on a sac fly by senior Dan Haugh.
The Lyons held their one-run lead until the sixth when Babson scored twice to take a 2-1 lead. Kucher was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and senior Billy Miller followed with a single, putting runners on first and second. Later in the frame, junior Pat Matvichuk singled to center to bring in both runners and put Babson in front.
The Lyons tied the game in the eight. Haugh drew a leadoff walk, and back-to-back singles by junior Dan Gusovsky and senior John Keating loaded the bases. Junior Justin Connor brought in the tying run with a bases-loaded walk.
Wheaton threatened to win the game in the 10th by putting runners on first and second with two down, but Gilbody pitched out of trouble to keep the game going. In the 11th, Babson put runners on the corners with one out, and Kucher lifted a sac fly to left field to bring in freshman Dillon Gonzalez and give the Beavers back in front, 3-2.
Gilbody retired Wheaton in order in the bottom of the ninth to record his third win of the season — all of which have come out of the bullpen in extra-inning affairs. He came on in relief of sophomore starter Derek Richards to start the eighth and worked four scoreless innings, scattering three hits, walking two, and strucking out two. Richards, meanwhile, allowed five hits and two runs (one earned) with four walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings of work.
Junior Frank Holbrook tossed the first six innings for Wheaton and surrendered 10 hits and two runs while striking out two. Sophomore Nick Filloramo took the loss as he allowed no hits and one unearned run in the 11th.
Matvichuk, senior captain Travis Jonasson, and junior Conor Kortmann each finished with two hits in the win for Babson, while Landers and Gusovsky each recorded two hits in defeat for the Lyons. Wheaton freshman Apolinar De la Cruz went 0-for-3 with two walks and saw his hitting streak snapped at 14 games.