Babcock's Walk-Off Keeps Nighthawks Perfect in NECC at 9-0

Photo Credit: Dylan Foran
Photo Credit: Dylan Foran

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - After an offensive outburst for the Nighthawks in the opening game, a 10-0, game-shortened, victory over the Mitchell Mariners, the Nighthawks needed to battle back from three runs down in the eventual 6-5 walk-off win, keeping the Nighthawks undefeated in the New England Collegiate Conference.

Game One: Newbury 10 - Mitchell 0 (Final/5)

Nighthawks freshman Mallory Stefan (Thornton, Colo.) continued to help her cause at the plate, finishing 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, helping the Nighthawks to a 10-0 victory over the Mariners on Saturday afternoon in the opening game of a doubleheader at Pine Manor Softball Field.

Stefan, who also got the start on the mound, is 6-for-her-last-13 at the plate in the last four games where she is the starting pitcher. Senior Naomi Ricciotti (Pheonix, Ariz.) also finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Senior Elizabeth Kia (Kea'au, Hawaii) was 1-for-3 with a two-RBI double in the fourth.

Mariners sophomore Taylor Duchesneau (Killingly, Conn.) finished 1-for-2 while senior Nia Brown (Bronx, N.Y.) batted 1-for-1; the only two Mariners to earn a hit off Stefan in five innings. 

The Nighthawks took advantage of a first-inning error, scoring four all with two outs. With sophomore Alina Milauskas (Elkridge, Md.) on second, Ricciotti singled, scoring Milauskas for a 1-0 lead.

A single by freshman Arianna Gooden (Bakersfield, Calif.) and a stolen base on the next play put two in scoring position. Stefan singled home Milauskas and sophomore Tina Babcock (Ayer, Mass.) followed that with a double, scoring Gooden for a 4-0 lead. 

In the third, the Nighthawks again took advantage of numerous Mariner errors to break open the game. 

Leading 5-0 and with the bases loaded, Kia doubled, scoring a pair for a 7-0 lead. A groundout by senior Lindsey Clark (Venice, Fla.) scored Babcock for an 8-0 lead. Milauskas reached on an error that also scored Kia for a 9-0 lead.

Two batters later, an RBI single by sophomore Alexis Vieira (Pawtucket, R.I.) put the Nighthawks in front 10-0. 

Stefan retired the last eight batters she saw, holding the shutout in the five-inning performance.

Stefan allowed just two hits and struck out one batter; the win moves her to 6-7. Stefan is 6-1 in her last seven and is 4-0 in the NECC this season.

Duchesneau pitched four innings, allowing seven earned runs on nine hits. She falls to 5-12 with the loss.

Game Two: Newbury 6 - Mitchell 5

With two outs, a runner on second and the game tied 5-5, Babcock fired a single to left center field, scoring Vieira from second as the Nighthawks walked off with a 6-5 victory over the Mariners in the second game of the doubleheader, keeping the Nighthawks undefeated in conference play.

Nighthawks sophomore Noelle Sass (Randolph, Mass.) batted 3-for-4, all singles with an RBI and two runs scored. Milauskas batted 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Ricciotti finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. 

Mariners junior Megan Elphick (Waterford, Conn.) batted 3-for-4, all singles, scoring three times. Duchesneau also finished 3-for-4 with all singles. Junior Samantha DelConte (Enfield, Conn.) finished 1-for-4 with a lead-off triple.

In the Nighthawks seventh, Vieira led off the inning with a bloop single. Ricciotti stepped in for the sacrifice bunt, moving Vieira to second. Gooden hit a pitch sharply, but was directly at the center fielder, putting two outs in the inning. Babcock then lined one over the head of the shortstop, scoring the game-winning run.

It was the Mariners out to a fast start in this game, leading the game off with a triple from DelConte. Elphick singled to right field, scoring DelConte for a 1-0 lead. A single and walk loaded the bases for the Mariners with one out.

Another walk scored Elphick, giving the Mariners a 2-0 lead. Milauskas got out of the bases-loaded jam, striking out freshman Breanna Gagnon (Willimantic, Conn.) and getting freshman Reanna Clark (Medford, Mass.) to pop out.

The Nighthawks answered in the bottom of the inning on a Gooden single that scored Sass, cutting the deficit in half at 2-1.

The Mariners struck again in the third, starting the inning with back-to-back singles by Elphick and Duchesneau. Elphick scored on an RBI groundout and Dechesneau scored to make it 4-1 on a single by Gagnon.

In the third, the Nighthawks put two in scoring position with no outs. A Mariners error led to Milauskas scoring for a 4-2 game. With two still in scoring position, Ricciotti singled to right field, plating a pair and tying the game 4-4.

The Nighthawks got their first lead in the fourth with a two-out rally. Milauskas doubled to left center and Sass drove her in with an RBI single up the middle, putting the Nighthawks ahead 5-4.

The Mariners answered in the fifth, with Elphick scoring on a single to left by junior Italia Krick (Griswold, Conn.) to tie the game at 5-5.

Milauskas pitched a complete game allowing five runs on nine hits while matching a career-high seven strikeouts. Milauskas is riding a hot streak to start April, beginning the month 4-1 in five starts.

Duchesneau was on the mound again for the Mariners, taking the loss in 6 2/3 innings, allowing five earned on nine hits, striking out four.

The pair of wins moves the Nighthawks to over .500 for the first time this season at 12-11 (9-0 NECC). The two losses drop the Mariners to 7-16 (3-9 NECC).

The Nighthawks continue the season with a doubleheader on Wednesday evening against the second-place team in the NECC, the Regis College Pride, with first pitch set for 5:00 p.m. Mitchell takes a week off before welcoming Becker College for a pair of games on Saturday starting at noon.