NEWMAC TOURNAMENT: #1 Wheaton, #4 Babson Split Doubleheader

NEWMAC TOURNAMENT: #1 Wheaton, #4 Babson Split Doubleheader

Grant breaks NCAA Division III all-time saves record in game two victory

NORTON, Mass. – First-seeded Wheaton College and fourth-seeded Babson College split its pair of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Baseball Tournament games on Sunday afternoon at Sidell Stadium. The Beavers took game one, 5-1, while the Lyons bounced back in game two with a 2-0 triumph.

Wheaton (25-12-1) will host Babson (20-14) tomorrow afternoon at Sidell Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 3:30 p.m. to determine who will advance to the NEWMAC Tournament championship best-of-three series next weekend.

BABSON 5, WHEATON 1

Junior Barrett O'Neill (Ashland, Mass./Dexter School) stymied Wheaton in his sixth start of the season scattering seven hits over 8 1/3 innings while allowing just one run (earned) and one walk alongside a game-high seven strikeouts. Classmate Connor Allen (Madison, N.J./Madison) completed recorded the last two outs for the Beavers in the contest.

Wheaton senior right-hander Alec Palioca (Wrentham, Mass./King Philip Regional) took the loss on eight innings pitched, five hits, five runs (two earned), one walk and three strikeouts. Sophomore Jared Clement (Wrentham, Mass./Saint Sebastian's) finished the ninth with a pair of strikeouts.

Freshman Joe Barry (Stoneham, Mass./Austin Prep) gave Babson a 1-0 lead in the second with an RBI ground out to third before the Beavers tacked on two more runs in third on a throwing error and a run-producing single through the right side of the infield by senior Brendan Collins (Abington, Mass./BC High).

The Beavers added two more runs in fifth as freshman Jack Halpin (Glastonbury, Conn./Glastonbury) notched a two-run single down the right field line plating junior Dillon Gonzalez (Beverly, Mass./St. John's Prep) and freshman Kevin Murphy (Pembroke, Mass./Catholic Memorial). Gonzalez got the offense going with a one-out single and Murphy immediately followed with a double down the left field line to set up the scoring.

Wheaton broke open the shutout in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI single down the right field line by Joshua LaJoie (Somers, Conn./Avon Old Farms) but Allen squandered the comeback threat inducing a fly out with the bases loaded to end the game. Senior Kevin Foley (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) had a base knock down the left field line, advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third on a single by sophomore Mike Beneduce (North Kingstown, R.I./Moses Brown School) before scoring on LaJoie's hit down the right field line.

WHEATON 2, BABSON 0

Lyons' senior starter Nick Filloramo (Rochester, Mass./Old Rochester Regional) forced the if necessary game in the best of three series for the Blue and White against Babson in the NEWMAC Tournament with another quality start going 6 1/3 innings on five hits, no runs, one walk and three strikeouts.

Junior Mike Bisceglia (New Boston, N.H./Goffstown) fanned two hitters over the next 1 2/3 innings, while senior closer Ryan Grant (Easton, Mass./Avon Old Farms) locked down his ninth save of the season and 45th of his career to become the all-time saves leader in NCAA Division III baseball history. Grant surpassed Andy Lowe's (Heidelberg University) mark of 44 career saves, which was set in 2011, by inducing three ground outs alongside a walk.

With two outs and a runner on third in the ninth, LaJoie ranged up the middle from the shortstop position on a ball that ricocheted off the back of the pitching mound and delivered a low throw across his body with all his momentum going the other way to Wheaton first baseman Apolinar De La Cruz (Providence, R.I./Classical) who scooped up the throw to end the contest, preserve the win and the save.

The Lyons scored one run apiece in the first and second innings and let their pitching staff do the rest as Bisceglia drove in a run on a fielder's choice RBI in the opening frame and junior center fielder Zach Bombard (Belchertown, Mass./Cathedral) tagged an RBI double to right field scoring Foley in the second.

Filloramo only allowed two runners to reach scoring position from the third inning on until he was relieved by Bisceglia in the seventh. Halpin roped a one-out triple in the fourth, but Filloramo used a strikeout swinging and a ground out to third to end Babson's first major scoring threat of the game, while Bisceglia erased Chris Warren's (Medfield, Mass./Medfield) one-out double in the seventh on a pop out and a ground out to short to keep the guests off the scoreboard.

For the latest on Wheaton College Athletics, follow the Lyons via social media on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.