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Baseball edges third-ranked team in New England, Babson

C. Burke








BABSON PARK, Mass. -- The Bates College baseball team built a five-run lead late in the game and then held on for a 7-6 victory over host Babson College in non-conference baseball action at Govoni Field on a frigid Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Bobcats improved to 8-12 on the year, while the Beavers, ranked third in New England by the NEIBA, fell to 23-10.

Babson took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, as Billy Miller singled with one out, took second on a groundout by Travis Jonasson, and scored on a base hit to left by Chris Kucher.

That lead lasted until the top of the fourth, when Bates plated an unearned run off starter Kyle Lyon to even the score at 1-1. Senior Chris Burke (Andover, Mass.) reached on an error to start the inning and then moved to second on a wild pitch. Senior Noah Lynd (Meriden, N.H.) followed with a fly out to deep center that allowed Burke to move to third, and the second wild pitch of the inning allowed him to score the Bobcats' first run of the game.

The Beavers moved back in front in the bottom of the fifth, as Jonasson crushed his second home run of the spring to center field to give the hosts a brief 2-1 advantage. Bates then took the lead for good with three in the top of the fifth, including two more unearned runs. After Lynd was hit by a pitch with one away, first-year Griff Tewksbury (Concord, N.H.) and senior Gordy Webb (Hampden, Maine) recorded back-to-back singles to load the bases. Senior Jake Simon (Waterford, Conn.) then drove in the tying run with a fielder's choice grounder that was mishandled at short, and senior Rich Velotta (Fairfield, Conn.) knocked in the go-ahead run with another fielder’s choice. Webb scored moments later on a passed ball as the Bobcats built a 4-2 lead midway through the game.

Babson had a chance to tie the contest in the sixth, when Trevor Boyce and Pat Matvichuk both singled and moved into scoring position on a sac bunt by Sean Cleary. However, Bates' senior starter Paul Chiampa (Pembroke, Mass.) induced an inning-ending grounder to third off the bat of Babson's leading hitter, Dave Ahern, as the Bobcats maintained the two-run lead.

Bates scored two insurance runs in the in the seventh, beginning when senior captain Pat Murphy (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) doubled with one out and later scored on a two-out single to left by Lynd. After Tewskbury singled to left to chase Lyon, Webb greeted reliever Jeff Burress with a single to center, scoring Lynd with the sixth Bates run. The Bobcats then added another run when Webb drove in Chris Burke with a fielder’s choice grounder to short in the top of the ninth.

The Beavers made a final charge in the bottom of the ninth, beginning when Ahern singled to right and scored when the center fielder mishandled a double off the bat of Miller. Bates then caught a huge break when Jonasson hit an infield single to short, but Miller was thrown out trying to advance to third.

After a walk and a foul out, Chris Warren hit a single to right, loading the bases with two away. Trevor Boyce then drew a walk to force in a run, cutting Babson’s deficit to 7-4 and prompting the Bobcats to lift junior reliever Demitrios Gatzogiannis (Wells, Maine) in favor of Lynd. Matvichuk greeted the righthander with a hard-hit single to right, scoring Warren and Kucher and making it a one-run affair. But Lynd responded by striking out Brendan Collins on a 3-2 pitch to end the game and secure the 7-6 Bates victory.

Chiampa (1-1) went seven innings to earn the win for the Bobcats, allowing two runs on nine hits, walking three and fanning four. Gatzogiannis went 1 2/3 innings and surrendered four runs before giving way to Lynd, who got the final out for his first save.

Tewksbury and Webb each went 3-for-5 to pace the Bates’ offense, while Lynd reached base four times with a single and three hit-by-pitches.

Despite taking a no-hitter into the fourth, Lyon (3-3) suffered the loss on the mound for the Beavers, giving up six runs, only three of which were earned, on seven hits while striking out six.

Murphy was charged with an error for the first time since the middle of his sophomore season, ending a streak of 66 consecutive starts without an error in center field.

Bates takes on Husson University for the second time this season in a home game tomorrow at Leahey Field. The game, originally scheduled to start at noon, has been moved to a 3 p.m. start. The Bobcats won 7-5 in 10 innings at Husson on March 28. The game can be followed via Live Stats and Webcast.

BOX SCORE: Bates 7, Babson 6