Clark Stuns Baseball , 12-11, In NEWMAC Tournament Opener

Sixth-seeded Cougars erase 11-2 deficit en route to shocking upset.

Steve Tahmoush '08 belted two homers against Clark.

Steve Tahmoush '08 belted two homers against Clark.

April 23, 2008

Box Score

BABSON PARK, Mass. - Sixth-seeded Clark University scored 10 runs in the top of the eighth inning to erase an 11-2 deficit and claim an incredible 12-11 come-from-behind victory over top-seeded Babson College in the first game of the 2008 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Baseball Tournament at Babson's Govoni Field on Wednesday afternoon. With the victory, Clark improved to 11-20 overall and will now travel to Springfield for a matchup with the fourth-seeded Pride tomorrow at 3:30. The Beavers, ranked third in New England, fell to 25-9 with their first loss in 12 games and will host fifth-seeded WPI in an elimination game at 3:30 tomorrow.

Babson snapped a 1-1 tie with seven runs in the fourth inning, beginning when sophomore Dave Ahern (Bedford, Mass.) tripled in senior co-captain Matt Delaney (Newton, Mass.) and then scored on a two-run homer to left by junior Bryan Evans (Bellaire, Texas). Junior Jeff Wojnar (Bellaire, Texas) followed with a double and later scored when sophomore Jake Bartlett's (Salem, Mass.) single to left was bobbled with two outs, and Delaney knocked in two more with a double to right - his second hit of the inning - as the Beavers built an 8-1 advantage.

Clark got a run back when senior Joseph Silva (Westbury, N.Y.) singled in senior Matt Adams (Jackson Heights, N.Y.) in the top of the sixth, but Babson appeared to put the game away with three more runs in the bottom of the inning. After senior Andrew Nodine (Portland, Maine) drew a leadoff walk, classmate Steve Tahmoush (Arlington, Mass.) blasted his second home run of the game over the wall in right, giving the hosts a 10-2 cushion. Delaney then followed with a solo shot to right - Babson's fourth homer of the day - to increase the lead to 11-2 heading into the bottom of the eight.

After struggling against first-year starter Andrew Aizenstadt (Norwell, Mass.) and sophomore reliever Michael O'Brien (Shrewsbury, Mass.) through the first seven innings, the Cougars' offense erupted in the eighth. Senior Eric Dufour (Exeter, N.H.) plated the first run when he singled in first-year Benjamin Seel (Belgrade, Maine), who had led off the inning with a pinch-hit single and moved to second on a walk to senior tri-captain Joseph Silva (Westbury, N.Y.). Sophomore Ronald Bathrick (North Haven, Conn.) then cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right-center, chasing O'Brien and cutting the Cougars' deficit to 11-6.

Senior tri-captain Cole Osburn (Mendon, Mass.) greeted junior reliever Pete Bizinkauskas (Duxbury, Mass.) with a single to center, but he was erased on a fielder's choice grounder by sophomore Phillip DiMarco (Bellingham, Mass.). A hit batter then put runners at first and second, and sophomore Brendan Solecki (Portsmouth, R.I.) knocked in another run with a single up the middle to knock Bizinkauskas from the contest. Junior reliever Matt Barton (Washingtonville, N.Y.) would hit the first batter he faced to load the bases before inducing an RBI fielder's choice by Seel for the inning's second out.

With the Cougars' deficit down to 11-8, Solecki made it a two-run game as he scampered home when Babson committed its second error of the game on a fielder's choice grounder by Silva. Bathrick then forced in another run when he became Clark's third hit batsman of the inning, chasing Barton and making it 11-10. Babson would bring in saves-leader Ahern to get the final out, but Osburn laced the first pitch he saw from the sophomore closer up the middle, scoring Dufour and Silva to give the Cougars their first lead of the game, 12-11.

Despite the stunning turn of events, the Beavers continued to fight back, putting two men on with one out in the bottom of the eighth. However, Cougars' junior reliever David Gagnon (Harwich, Mass.) induced an inning-ending double-play grounder to short to preserve the lead. Clark then threatened by putting a runner on third with one out in the top of the ninth, but Ahern got the final two batters to escape the jam, setting up a thrilling finish in the bottom half of the inning.

First-year Billy Besinger (Milton, Mass.) drew a leadoff walk to start the ninth for Babson before Gagnon fanned the next hitter for the first out. Bartlett then singled to right to move Besinger to second, and sophomore Peter O'Toole (Milton, Mass.) followed with a line drive single down the first-base line that could have tied the game. However, first baseman Bathrick got just enough of the ball with a diving attempt to his left, knocking it down and keeping it close enough to hold Besinger at third. That play would prove critical moments later, when Gagnon induced another double-play grounder to short, capping off the stunning 12-11 comeback win.

First-year Robert Lopez (Copake, N.Y.) pitched a scoreless seventh for Clark to earn his first career win, while Gagnon notched his third save with two scoreless frames. Barton suffered the loss for Babson, dropping his record to 3-2. The Cougars' late rally spoiled another outstanding start by Aizenstadt, who gave up just two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out eight in six innings of work.

Tahmoush went 4-for-5 with two homers - his fourth and fifth of the season - to go along with three runs scored and four RBIs, while Delaney also went 4-for-5 with a home run, two runs, and three driven in. Bathrick paced Clark with two hits, a run, and four RBIs in three at-bats, while Osburn and Solecki each added two hits and two RBIs.

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