CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—Babson College senior Nicholas Browne (Mount Laurel, N.J.) hit a two-run homer in the top of the 10th, but No. 22/21 John's Hopkins University responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning to edge the Beavers, 7-6, in the Division III College World Series opener for both teams on Friday evening at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
No. 7/9 Babson, which suffered its first one-run loss of the season, drops to 38-9 on the year, while Johns Hopkins improves to 36-11 overall.
Senior Brian McHale (Ramsey, N.J.), who became the program's all-time hits leader, junior Jake Oliger (Newtown, Conn.), and first-year Thomas Lapham (Charlestown, Mass.) all had a pair of knocks and drove in a run for the Beavers. Sophomore Tyler Bell (Abington, Mass.) struck out three and settled for a no-decision after giving up three runs in 6.2 innings of work.
Senior Max Tannenbaum (Coral Springs, Fla.) suffered the loss and dropped to 5-2 on the year for Babson.
Graduate student Chris DeGiacomo (Norwell, Mass.) and first-year AJ King (Cincinnati, Ohio) both had three hits, classmate James Ingram (Piscataway, N.J.) homered, and senior Tim Kutcher (Forest Hill, Md.) added a two-run double for the Blue Jays. Fellow senior Josh Hejka (Dearborn, Mich.) allowed five runs, just one of them earned, and struck out eight over 9.2 innings. Classmate Preston Betz (Plano, Texas) improves to 5-2 with the win after recording the final out of the 10th in relief.
Tied at 1-1 after trading runs in the third, the Green and White took the lead with a two-out, three-run rally in the sixth. Senior Edward Lehr (Byram Township, N.J.), who was hit by a pitch with one out, reached third on a throwing error and then scored on another miscue to go in front 2-1. Lapham followed with an RBI single to left and McHale recorded the 202nd hit of his career with a double to right center to give the Beavers a 4-1 advantage.
Bell had retired eight straight batters entering the seventh, but allowed a lead-off single to King and a two-out, two-run blast to Ingram as Johns Hopkins cut its deficit to 4-3. The Blue Jays loaded the bases with nobody out in the eighth and tied the game on DeGiacomo's infield single, but were unable to take the lead after Babson sophomore Henry Leake (Burbank, Calif.) recorded three straight strikeouts to escape further damage.
Leake worked out of a second and third two-out jam in the bottom of the ninth, and the Beavers regained the lead in the top of the 10th when Browne greeted Betz with a two-out, two-run homer. Johns Hopkins again rallied though, as DeGiacomo tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 6-5 with one out. Sophomore Mark Lopez (Baltimore, Md.) stroked a two-out single to left center, Ingram reached on an error and Kutcher brought both of them home with a double to the gap in right center.
Babson will face the loser of Friday night's contest between Birmingham Southern and Heidelberg in an elimination game at 5:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, while Johns Hopkins will face the winner at 9:45 p.m. ET.
• Babson and Johns Hopkins had not played since 1997 prior to Friday night.
• McHale passed former teammate Jack Halpin '17 as the Beavers' all-time hits leader.
• Friday's loss was the first this season for Babson when leading after six innings.
• Browne has hit safely in all seven NCAA Tournament games, and his 12th home run of the spring moves him into second place on the school's single-season list.
• Prior to Friday, the Beavers had won 12 consecutive one-run decisions going back to a 4-3 10-inning loss at Southern Maine back on April 19, 2018.