HARTFORD, Conn.—Senior Nicholas Browne (Mount Laurel, N.J.) and junior Jake Oliger (Newtown, Conn.) both homered and sophomore Tyler Bell (Abington, Mass.) allowed just one earned run over six innings as No. 7/9 Babson College defeated Keystone College, 7-3, in the opening game of the NCAA Tournament Hartford Regional on Friday at Murren Family Field at DiBenedetto Stadium.
Babson, which won its NCAA Tournament opener for the fourth time in five appearances, improves to 34-7 overall, while Keystone slips to 25-15 on the year.
Browne hit a three-run blast and Oliger added a solo shot for the Beavers, who finished the day with 10 hits. Senior Edward Lehr (Byram Township, N.J.) and junior Matthew Valente (Wyckoff, N.J.) both had two hits and scored twice, while classmate Sean Harrington (Walpole, Mass.) added two hits, a walk and a run scored in the win.
Bell (4-0), who entered the game riding a streak of 29.0 scoreless innings, struck out three while giving up two runs and scattering eight hits in his first NCAA Tournament start for the Green and White.
Senior Chris Panzarella (Hazle Township, Pa.) went 4-for-4 with a double and two runs scored, while classmate Mohammed Hussein (Queens, N.Y.) and fellow senior Dakota McFadden (Rocky Point, N.C.) both went 2-for-4 for the Giants. First-year Devin Reed (Hazleton, Pa.) doubled twice in support of sophomore Nathan Hinkley (Bradenton, Fla.), who dropped to 5-2 after giving up five runs, four of them earned, on seven hits in 5.2 innings.
Harrington gave Babson the lead with two outs in the bottom of the first when he scored on a passed ball after tripling to right. Hinkley allowed just a single to Harrington over the next three frames before running into trouble in the fifth as Browne followed back-to-back base hits by Lehr and Valente with a three-run homer, his 10th of the year, to right center to make it 4-0.
After working in and out of trouble over the first five innings, the Giants got to Bell for a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. McFadden drove in Hussein with an RBI single and Panzarella scored on a fielder's choice one batter later to make it 4-2. Bell escaped further damage inducing a double-play ground out by senior Ronald Medina (Bronx, N.Y.), and Oliger homered to left with one out in the bottom of the frame to extend the margin back to 5-2.
Junior William Gallagher (Kingston, Mass.) struck out the side in the seventh and despite allowing a run in the eighth, sophomore Henry Leake (Burbank, Calif.) got an inning-ending double play when senior right fielder Eric Jaun (Loveland, Ohio) threw out McFadden at home. Valente drove in Lehr with an RBI single and later scored on a passed ball for a four-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, and senior Max Tannenbaum (Coral Springs, Fla.) retired the side in order in the ninth to close out the win.
Babson will face Trinity in a winner's bracket game at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, while Keystone will take on Salve Regina in an elimination game at 11 a.m.
• Friday's meeting was the first in program history for Babson against Keystone.
• The Beavers' four double plays on Friday are their most since turning four in last year's NCAA Tournament opener, a 12-11 win over Catholic.
• Browne joins Ryan Arena '18 as the only two players to hit at least 10 home runs in a single season in program history.
• Oliger's solo homer in the sixth gave him 50 RBI on the year, which has him tied with Kevin Higa '03 (2002) and Jon Cignetti '98 (1997) for the most in single-season Babson history.
• Prior to allowing two runs in the sixth Bell had not given up a run in 34.0 innings dating back to an appearance on March 17 against Vassar in Florida.
• Harrington and Oliger have now reached base successfully in 23 and 20 straight games, respectively.