Baseball Edges Wheaton TO Clinch First-Ever NEWMAC Regular Season Title

Andrew Aizenstadt '11 pitches Beavers to 4-2 victory over archrivals.

Andrew Aizenstadt '11 held #9 Wheaton to just two runs on four hits.

Andrew Aizenstadt '11 held #9 Wheaton to just two runs on four hits.

April 17, 2008

Box Score

NORTON, Mass. - First-year hurler Andrew Aizenstadt (Norwell, MA/Norwell) threw seven brilliant innings and junior Jeff Wojnar (Bellaire, Texas) scored twice and drove in two as the Babson College baseball team clinched its first-ever New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season title with a 4-2 victory over host Wheaton College at Sidell Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

With their ninth straight victory and second of the year over the ninth-ranked Lyons, the Beavers, who entered the day ranked fourth in the region by the NEIBA, improved to 23-8 and 9-1 in the NEWMAC. Wheaton, which had won all nine of the previous regular season titles in NEWMAC history, dropped to 24-7 overall and 9-3 in league play.

Babson captured a 2-0 lead in the second inning, as senior co-captain Matt Delaney (Newton, Mass.) singled to right center with one out and later scored when Wojnar blasted a two-run homer well of the 350-foot sign in left. Wojnar then helped the Beavers tack on another run in the fourth, as he ripped a double to left and scored on sophomore Jake Bartlett's (Weymouth, MA/Boston College) RBI single. The visitors would put two on with two out in the inning, but Wheaton senior southpaw Chris McDonough (Weymouth, MA/Weymouth) averted further damage with an inning-ending strikeout. McDonough also pitched out of a two-on, none-out jam the following inning without being scored upon.

Wheaton's bats were held at bay during the first four-plus innings by rookie sensation Aizenstadt, as only one of the Lyons' initial 15 hitters reached base, on a two-out error in the second. With two down in the fifth, junior Nick Pecora (Highland Park, NJ/Immaculata) beat out an infield single for the hosts' first hit and moved to second on an ensuing error before being stranded.

Down 3-0, the Lyons began the seventh with a pair of hits through the left side, as freshman Sean Munley (Trenton, NJ/The Hun School of Princeton) and junior Robert Foote (Walpole, MA/Walpole) rapped consecutive singles. However, Aizenstadt pitched out of trouble by inducing a fielder's choice grounder and a double play to end the frame.

Wheaton again threatened in the eighth, as freshman Eric Laliberte (Nashua, NH/Bishop Guertin) led off with a single up the middle and classmate Ted Skelley (Wolfeboro, NH/Holderness School) drew a pinch-hit walk to knock Aizenstadt from the game. Senior reliefer John Hudspeth (Mount Laurel, NJ/Bishop Eustace) then came on to get two big outs before a walk to senior Scott Guillerault (South Portland, ME/South Portland) loaded the bases. Munley followed with a clutch two-out, two-run single to left to make the score 3-2.

With the tying run on second, Babson head coach Matt Noone brought in sophomore closer Dave Ahern (Bedford, MA/Bedford), but the reliever's fourth pitch hit Foote to load the bases once again. However, Ahern induced an inning-ending fielder's choice grounder to short to preserve the lead. Ahern would then drive in a run with a sac fly in the ninth before he set the Lyons down 1-2-3 in the bottom half, fanning the final two batters for his third save of the season.

Wojnar ended up 2-for-4 with a double, a homer, two runs, and two RBIs, while Ahern and Bartlett each went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Aizenstadt improved to 5-0 behind seven innings of four-hit ball, yielding just two runs while walking two and striking out four.

Munley finished 2-for-4 with two RBI for Wheaton, which ended with five hits and seven runners left on base. Foote, Laliberte and Pecora had the Lyons' other hits. McDonough suffered just his second loss of the season after yielding three runs on nine hits in seven innings, fanning six without walking a batter.

With the top seed locked up, Babson will now complete its NEWMAC regular season schedule with a home doubleheader against Clark on Saturday. The Beavers will host the conference's six-team, double-elimination tournament beginning on Wednesday.

NOTE: Taken from a Wheaton College press release.

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