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Binghamton softball sweeps non-conference doubleheader at Colgate

With momentum in its favor, the Binghamton softball team continued its winning ways with a doubleheader sweep of Colgate on Tuesday.

Freshman catcher Taylor Chaffee belted a three-run homer to lead Binghamton to a 7-3 win over Colgate.

The Bearcats (23-13, 10-2 America East), who have won 12 of their last 14 games, took the opener 7-1 at Eaton Street Field and concluded with a 7-3 victory in the nightcap.

“I thought we stayed pretty focused, and we did a good job putting pressure on,” Binghamton head coach Michelle Burrell said. “It was overall a good team effort. Everyone contributed, and I’m happy with that.”

Five Bearcats hit .400 or better over the two games, with junior second baseman Jessica Bump leading the way with a .571 average. On the pitching end, seniors Kate Price and Rhoda Marsteller and junior Demi Laney allowed just three earned runs.

In the first game, Bump broke a scoreless tie with a third inning solo shot. The Bearcats added a run in the fifth, and junior third baseman Mikala King belted a two-run shot in the sixth to put Binghamton ahead 4-0.

A three-run seventh inning, capped by a two-run single from freshman designated hitter Griffin McIver, put the game out of reach.

Bump, freshman right fielder Sydney Harbaugh and freshman first baseman Lisa Cadogan each went 2-for-4 with one RBI.

Laney turned in another noteworthy performance, completing the game while scattering seven hits and a walk. She stands at 11-5 on the season with a 2.75 ERA.

In the second game, Bump led off with a walk, and Harbaugh followed with a single. Freshman catcher Taylor Chaffee then followed a Cadogan strike out with a home run to give the Bearcats a 3-0 lead.

Colgate (15-25, 9-7 Patriot) would answer with a run in each of the first three innings, but a Cadogan sacrifice fly in the fourth gave Binghamton the lead for good.

Bump, Chaffee and McIver each went 2-for-3, while Price tossed three scoreless innings of relief to earn her fifth win of the season.

With its final non-conference games in the rearview mirror, Binghamton is set to travel to Stony Brook for a crucial three-game series this weekend.

The Bearcats, who trail first-place Albany by one game in the loss column, still have a shot at the America East regular season title. With two wins at Stony Brook (25-19, 7-5 AE), Binghamton can clinch at least the two seed in the conference tournament.

But Burrell said the Bearcats plan to ignore the external implications.

“We’re going to go one game at a time, really just focus on the first game,” she said. “Our goal is to host [the tournament], but I think that’s in the background right now. Whatever happens at the end happens.”

Last year, Binghamton played Stony Brook in a key late season series, needing to take at least two of three to remain in the hunt for the final conference tournament berth. But the Seawolves won the series, and the Bearcats did not play postseason softball.

But Burrell said last year’s results should not add fuel to the fire.

“As far as last year goes,” Burrell said, “I think that was last year and we’re focused on this year.”

Stony Brook pitcher Allison Cukrov, now a sophomore, started and completed all three games against the Bearcats in 2012. With a 3.42 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 2013, she is one of the conference’s better pitchers.

This year, though, Stony Brook junior pitcher Christine Lucido has held a more integral role and ranks second in the America East with a 1.86 ERA through 94 innings.

“We’re going to work to hopefully put pressure on them early and kind of make adjustments as quick as we can,” Burrell said.

Few Bearcats found success against Stony Brook pitching last year, but Bump, who leads the team with a .372 average and nine home runs, belted a three-run shot off Cukrov to propel Binghamton to its only win of the series.

“We really haven’t thought too much about last year, but I think our hitters know that as long as we go in with a good approach, it helps knowing what their tendencies and best pitches are,” Burrell said. “I think that situation helps us going into the series.”

First pitch of Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. at University Field, with the series finale scheduled for Sunday at noon.