Out of 34 games last year, the Springfield College baseball team finished with a dozen victories. The team ERA was 7.33.
Flip the calendar to April of 2017 and the Pride already has eight wins, and has started their NEWMAC campaign with two straight wins for the first time since 2006.
Since returning from Florida, Springfield has three victories, with two of them, a comeback 8-7 win over Dean and a scrappy 6-5 victory against MIT, being decided by a single run. The game against Dean was a game of resilience for the Pride’s men on the mound. After Dean struck for six runs in the first, the Springfield bullpen surrendered only one additional run. This allowed the offense to break through for six unanswered runs in the eighth inning to pull ahead. In the win, freshman Nick Naples shut the door on Dean in the ninth and earned his first career save. In the win versus MIT, the Pride would only need two pitchers Tyler Kelly (5.0 innings, four strikeouts) and Jack Weinberger (4.0 innings, three hits allowed, four strikeouts, and the save).
In its two losses however, Springfield has allowed a total of 30 runs; in a 20-5 loss to Amherst and 10-4 defeat at the hands of Westfield State. The pitching as a whole hasn’t been spectacular, but so far the team ERA is significantly lower, checking in at 4.58 while the opponent ERA sits at 5.60.
Two key pitchers thus far have been the young duo of Shawn Babineau and Brian Johnson. As a first year pitcher, Babineau has compiled a starter best 0.54 ERA over two starts. In addition to his no-hitter against Colby-Sawyer, Johnson has a strikeout per nine inning ratio of 9.39 and a 2.35 ERA.
Thus far, Springfield can be hit or miss in the pitching department, but the staff as a whole has put forth a collective effort to shut down the opposition when it matters most, and the team has eight W’s in 13 tries to show for it.