MANSFIELD Conn.- Dark clouds moved in as the sky started to open up in the middle of WPI and Babson’s second day NCAA regional game.
Unfortunately for eighth seeded Babson that wasn’t the only thing to open up as WPI’s offense exploded for a combined eleven runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pad their lead and coast to a 15-5 win.
In the first inning, the fourth seeded Engineers grabbed two runs over a span of three pitches to get an early 2-0 lead. Junior Paul Galligan started it with a single to left on a 1-2 count. Junior Matt Moreau sprayed a single to right on the next pitch from senior Jeff Wojnar, putting runners on first and second for senior Scott McNee, who lined the first pitch he saw off the left field wall to send both runners home.
WPI had a slim 3-2 lead as the skies began to darken entering the fifth. The Engineers slammed home seven runs in the inning, highlighted by a pair of two run home runs.
“WPI hit the ball, we knew they were going to do that,” Babson head coach Matt Noone said. “They had the big inning that kind of kept us from playing our game offensively. You kind of have to swing your way back into it and its kind of hard to bat in ten or fifteen runs.”
Galligan made it 5-2 with his sixth home run of the season over the left field wall. Junior Matt Moreau reached on error by junior third baseman Jake Bartlett, who fielded the ball, stumbled and then tripped and fell on the damp infield as tried to dig the ball from his glove.
McNee followed with his team leading twelfth home run of the year, just to the left of where Galligan’s shot landed.
“Yesterday was a real tough day for me in all aspects of the game, I didn’t hit, I got picked off at second and I made that terrible error that nearly cost us,” McNee said of his muffed fly ball against Suffolk in the opening game of the regional. “Today I just tried to be a little more loose, I think once you get that first game out of the way you can relax a little bit.”
Junior Nolan Murphy (8-2) gave the Engineers their second solid starting effort in as many games, going seven and a third innings, allowing four earned runs on ten hits.
“I was able to locate my fastball throughout the entire night,” Murphy said. “My changeup and curveball [worked] whenever I needed them.”
Wojnar (2-5) was saddled with the loss for Babson allowing nine earned runs in four and a third innings.
With the win, WPI (30-11) will face the winner of the Southern Maine and Trinity game which was supposed to start tonight, but was pushed to tomorrow at 10 a.m. due to poor weather. Babson (23-19), who knocked off top seeded Eastern Connecticut yesterday, will take on Husson tomorrow at 1:15.