BABSON PARK, Mass. – Freshman Nick Ahearn threw a complete-game, eight-hit shutout in his first collegiate start to help the Babson finish off its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular season slate with a 2-0 victory over Coast Guard.
With the win, Babson (18-14, 11-7 NEWMAC) still has a shot at the second seed in the upcoming conference Tournament, as the Green and White can finish no lower than third in the league standings. Meanwhile, Coast Guard (21-14, 9-9 NEWMAC) started the day having already locked up the fourth seed, as the Bears will take on either Wheaton or MIT in their first game of the four-team, double-elimination tourney.
Coming off his longest outing of the season – a 5 1/3-inning stint out of the bullpen in a winning effort against Curry on Tuesday, Ahearn (4-0) was masterful in his first collegiate start on Saturday. The rookie righthander used a heavy sinker to induce 15 groundball outs in the contest, as he scattered eight hits, walked none, and struck out one over nine innings.
Coast Guard had its best chance to score back-to-back singles by seniors Mike Massaro and Ed Sella followed by a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out in the fifth. However, Babson senior Chris Kucher was able to cut down Massaro trying to score on a fielder's choice grounder to third for the second out, and Ahearn got the next batter to fly out to center to end the threat.
The Bears put runners at second and third again in the sixth, as senior Nolan Gallagher singled with two outs and senior Tyler Babkiewich followed with a double down the left field line. However, Ahearn escaped again as he induced an inning-ending grounder to second.
Coast Guard had hits in each of the next two innings, but both runners were cut down by freshman catcher George Crowley – the first on an attempt to take third when a pitch got away in the seventh and the other on a traditional caught stealing in the eighth. Ahern then retired the side in order in the ninth to finish off the shutout win.
Offensively, the Beavers got all the runs they would need on one swing of the bat, as senior Trevor Boyce drove in seniors John Botelho and Pat Matvichuk with a basehit up the middle in the third. Botelho had led off the inning with a single to right and Matvichuk followed with a walk before both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Dillon Gonzalez.
Boyce finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Massaro and senior Eric Gerken each recorded two hits in four trips for Coast Guard.
Senior starter Derek Petty took the tough-luck loss for the Bears, as he allowed just two runs on six hits, walked two and struck out four in seven innings of work. The loss dropped his record to 5-3 on the season.
Coast Guard is off all week and will open NEWMAC tournament play on Saturday.