Baseball Splits NEWMAC West Division Doubleheader with Clark; Johnson Shines in Game One

Baseball Splits NEWMAC West Division Doubleheader with Clark; Johnson Shines in Game One

Springfield, Mass. -  April 13, 2019 -  The Springfield College baseball team finished the season series against New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) West opponent Clark University with a split in a doubleheader on Archie Allen Field on Saturday afternoon. The Pride were able to best the Cougars 6-3 in game one before falling 11-6 in the second game to come away with the two wins during the three-game weekend series. 

Springfield College now sits at 17-12 overall and 7-6 in the league, while Clark moves to 12-18 on the year with a 4-9 mark against league opponents.

Springfield College will now take the road on Tuesday, April 16 when it will take on Babson in NEWMAC play at 3:30 p.m.

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Springfield College 6, Clark 3 -- Game One

Senior Brian Johnson (East Haddam, Conn.) took the ball in his sixth start this year for the maroon and white, and was able to control the game from the get go, earning his second win of the season, as it took four innings for the Cougars to put a tally in the hit column. The southpaw struck out a career-high 12 Clark batters over the nine strong frames that he worked, marking Johnson's second complete game and third qaulity start of season, as well as the third time he has set 10 or more batters down on strikes. 

Springfield got off to a hot start in the first game when back-to-back walks made way for Mark Joao (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), who ripped a ball to right center, good for his second triple in as many days, plating the first two runs of the game. A wild pitch would score Joao and keep the Pride rolling with no outs in the first frame when Jason Bean (Middleboro, Mass.) shot a ball right back up the middle to put two runners on and bring up Eduardo Martinez (Southwick, Mass.). Martinez would chop a grounder to third that would plate Jake Gleason (South Dennis, Mass.) and give the Pride a 4-0 lead after one full inning. 

Johnson continued to dazzle in the third frame as he struck out the side to bring the Pride back up to the dish. The offense continued to expand the lead when Ryan Smith (Millis, Mass.) was able to find a gap in the infield and bring Bean home to bump the Pride's lead to five at the end of three. Noah Bleakley (Granby, Mass.) would continue to help the Pride with the bat when he laced a triple to deep left-center field and was able to advance 90 feet to score the sixth run of the contest leaving the score 6-0 Springfield after five.

Clark threatened to score in the top of the sixth when four-straight singles plated the Cougars first run of the ball game, loading the bases with no outs. Johnson was able to buckle down and strike out one batter before inducing a ground ball to shortstop that the Pride defense would spin into a double play to end the inning and contain the threat. The Cougars added two more runs on a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly before two clutch strikeouts by Johnson ended the inning with Springfield up 6-3.

The starter was able to finish the game just how he started it as the lefty got three quick ground balls to secure a game one victory for the Pride. 

Clark 11, Springfield College 6 -- Game Two

Junior Shawn Babineau (Ashland, Mass.) got the start on the hill for the Pride in game two and was never able to find his groove against the Cougars as he allowed five earned runs in 5.1 innings of work before being relieved by Cole Donovan (Holderness, N.H.). After Donovan struggled to find the strike zone, Kenny Walton (New Providence, Pa.) came on in a tight spot to try to get three-straight outs. Walton would go on to work 2.2 innings before being relieved in the final frame.

Clark struck first in the second game as an error proved costly, allowing a base runner to reach and eventually come around to score on a single up the middle in the top of the second. Springfield would come to bat in the bottom of the inning looking to answer back, and was able to get three runners to reach base in the inning, but could not push any runs across, leaving it down 1-0 after two full innings of play.

Clark would keep adding to its lead as the third inning started with four-straight base hits to score one and load the bases. Following a strikeout, a long fly ball landed just shy of the warning track in centerfield leading to a bases-clearing triple, which put the Cougars up 5-0 after the top of the third. Bean looked to help the Pride break into the scoring column as he drove a ground-rule double to right center to start off the fourth for the home team.

Bean would score the first run for Springfield on an infield single from Jack Simonetty (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), before Brandon Drabinski (Lisbon, Conn.) laced a ground-rule double and Cam Rivest (Agawam, Mass.) pulled a single down the line to plate a pair and bring the Pride within two. The Cougars would answer back and put another run on the board, bringing the Pride to the plate down 6-3 in the fifth.

Clark would continue to score as they were able to walk the bases loaded and convert on a single to left, followed by another free pass to put them up 8-3 with the bases loaded and no outs. A ground ball through the right side scored another for the visitors before a double play proved to be the end of the rally, ending the top of the seventh with the Cougars up 9-3. 

Springfield would climb back into the game when Joao, Bleakley and Bean all singled with two down. Simonetty was able to punch a ball down the right field line over the bag and into foul territory for a bases-clearing triple, bringing the deficit back to three in a 9-6 ball game heading into the eighth. Freshman Ryan Lawrence (Colchester, Conn.) came on to get the final out in the top of the ninth for the Pride and bring them up to the plate looking for five runs to tie the game up. Springfield would go quietly in the bottom of the frame and finish the game with a 11-6 score in favor of Clark.