After winning 21 consecutive games against UMBC, the Binghamton baseball team finally fell to the Retrievers 7-4 on Saturday at Alumni Field before splitting Sunday’s doubleheader with a 17-11 victory and a 2-0 loss.
In the series opener, the Retrievers (4-6, 2-1 America East) broke a 4-4 tie with three seventh-inning runs to beat the Bearcats (9-6, 1-2 AE) for the first time in five years.
The Bearcats got on the board first with a run in the second inning, and had a chance for more as they left the bases loaded. BU would then score twice in the third and once in the fourth, but was blanked over the final five frames as UMBC continued to chip away until its three-run outburst in the seventh.
BU got the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning after its first two batters got on base. But a double play followed by a pop-out prevented the Bearcats from cutting into the lead. Binghamton left 10 runners stranded in the contest.
Senior starter Jake Lambert, who picked up a no-decision, threw 5.1 innings while giving up three earned runs on six hits. Sophomore reliever Mike Kaufman gave up three earned runs on three singles in the seventh inning and was tabbed with the loss.
In Sunday’s first game, the Binghamton offense exploded for 17 runs in its extra-inning victory.
With BU up 11-8 in the seventh and final inning, the Retrievers doubled three times to tie the game and force extra innings.
After a quiet eighth inning, Binghamton strung together four consecutive hits to score six runs in the ninth. Junior shortstop John Howell broke the tie with a bases loaded sacrifice fly, and sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas followed suit with a three-run home run to give Binghamton three insurance runs. Senior first baseman Jordon Smucker put the game on ice with a two-run single later in the inning to extend BU’s lead to 17-11.
In total, the two teams combined for 35 hits, 28 runs and five lead changes.
Sophomore Anthony Grillini (1-0) picked up his first win of the season after scattering three hits over two scoreless innings. Junior Jack Rogalla started the game for Binghamton, but only managed to go 1.2 innings after giving up six hits, hitting two batters and allowing seven unearned runs. Junior Mike Meleski kept the Bearcats in the game, going 4.1 innings in relief and surrendering just one earned run.
Though the Binghamton offense surged early in the afternoon, it failed to tally a run in the nightcap, and single runs in the fourth and fifth innings by UMBC would prove to be enough as the Retrievers claimed the series.
UMBC held the Bearcats to just five hits in the contest.
For Binghamton, meanwhile, senior Jay Lynch (1-2) went the distance in the loss, surrendering one earned run on eight hits over six innings. He struck out two without walking a batter.
Howell went 7-for-10 with four RBI in the three-game series, while Smucker’s four RBI over the weekend kept him in first in the America East with 23. Thomas, who is hitting .420, continues to lead the conference with a .565 on-base percentage after reaching base seven more times this weekend.
Binghamton is set to continue conference play next weekend with a three-game series against Stony Brook at Varsity Field. The teams are scheduled to begin Game 1 of a doubleheader at noon on Saturday, while first pitch of the third and final game of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.