The Binghamton University women’s softball team dropped two of three to University at Albany this weekend in its first home conference series of the season.
In the first of two games on Saturday, Binghamton (13-11, 4-2 America East) held a 2-1 lead after six innings, as a result of an RBI single by senior Deannie Plemon and a solo home run by junior Meghan Tucker. But in the seventh inning, the Great Danes loaded the bases with two outs after already tying the game at two, and junior Katie Wambold’s RBI single gave Albany a 3-2 lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Tucker singled in Plemon, who had doubled earlier in the inning, to knot the game at three.
Albany junior Melissa Herndon led off the eighth inning with a solo shot off BU sophomore Rhoda Marsteller, who proceeded to retire the next three Great Danes. Binghamton used walks by sophomore Jessica Phillips and junior Colleen Whitaker and a hit-by-pitch by Plemon to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but senior Stephanie DeLuca struck out and Binghamton lost 4-3.
“It was frustrating,” said Binghamton head coach Michelle Burrell. “A couple things didn’t go our way. We need to make sure we get ahead and score early so it doesn’t come down to one or two plays.”
In the second half of the doubleheader, Albany’s Brittany MacFawn faced 15 Bearcat batters in the five-inning game and retired each one, recording the first perfect game against Binghamton since the Bearcats joined Division I 10 years ago.
“She did a really good job,” Burrell said on MacFawn. “I think, especially for a freshman, she showed really good composure on the mound.”
The Great Danes abused BU junior Kristen Emerling for eight runs in the first three innings and won 8-0.
Burrell had a feeling Albany would send MacFawn to the mound for the series finale because of her dominance on Saturday, and she implored her team to attack the good pitches.
“We have power throughout our lineup, so we know that at any point somebody can come through with a big hit,” Burrell said. “It’s just about making sure we stay patient yet aggressive.”
As Burrell thought, MacFawn started on Sunday, and the Bearcats took revenge. After falling down 1-0 early, DeLuca tied the game with a solo shot in the fourth and freshman Anna Blessing belted a two-run round-tripper in the sixth to give BU a 3-1 lead.
Freshman Demi Laney, who started the game for Binghamton, remained on the mound in the top of the seventh. With one out and a runner on first, Laney surrendered a game-tying two-run home run to senior Andrianna Walraven.
Binghamton failed to score in the bottom of the seventh, and sophomore Rhoda Marsteller relieved Laney in the eighth. Marsteller retired the side in order, and the Bearcats used a DeLuca single and a Blessing double to put runners at second and third with no outs in their half of the inning. Freshman Jessica Bump capitalized on the opportunity by hitting a sacrifice fly off MacFawn, which scored pinch-runner Briana Andrews, a junior, and enabled the Bearcats to walk off with a 4-3 victory.
“They showed they really wanted the game,” Burrell said about her team’s will after squandering its 3-1 lead in the seventh.
After starting 3-0 in the America East, the Bearcats have fallen to 4-2 and currently stand in fourth place. Burrell has set winning each remaining series as a goal for her team.
“We know if we can take two of three in our last four series, we’ll be in a good position for the [America East] tournament,” Burrell said.
In its next game, Binghamton is set to host Colgate University at 3 p.m. Thursday at the East Gym Fields.