Binghamton drops last two non-conference games

The Binghamton baseball team squared off for two final non-conference matchups against Marist and Siena at the Bearcats Sports Complex on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, losing each game by seven runs. The Red Foxes bested the home team 9-2, and the Saints followed up with a 10-3 blowout.

In both games, the Bearcats (21-19, 10-10 America East) simply couldn’t generate runs. Over the two contests, BU loaded the bases in four separate innings but stranded 21 runners.

“It’s an area that we’ve struggled with at various times this season,” BU head coach Tim Sinicki said. “All it’s going to take is a couple of hits in those situations and it will become contagious.”

With just nine conference games remaining, Sinicki said that the team must focus on playing and competing in full games.

“We are very capable of that, and when we do play that way we are very dangerous,” he said.

After Marist (22-19-1) posted two runs in the first on Tuesday, BU responded in the third. Junior designated hitter Shaun McGraw homered to left field to place the Bearcats on the board and tally his team-high fourth home run of the season. Junior shortstop John Howell proceeded to drive in junior first baseman Brian Ruby for the tying run.

But Marist used a double and an RBI triple to break a 2-2 tie and plate three runs in the fourth. The Red Foxes never looked back and outhit the Bearcats 12-7 en route to the 9-2 win.

Howell was the only BU player with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Freshman Jake Cryts (1-1) took the loss after surrendering five earned runs in 3.1 innings.

The following day, Siena (20-24) surged for an early lead over BU. The Saints plated seven runs in the first two frames, with a first-inning error leading to four unearned runs. Siena junior Andres Ortiz belted a three-run homer in the second to open the floodgates.

The Saints coasted the rest of the way as the Bearcats, who outhit Siena 11-6 in the loss, fumbled their way through their opportunities.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as we didn’t play and or pitch very well … and that was the case in the first two innings against Siena,” Sinicki said.

The Bearcats scored two runs in the sixth, with sophomore right fielder Zach Blanden plating the first one on sophomore catcher Nick Pancerella’s infield single. Junior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz followed by driving in senior first baseman Jordon Smucker. BU then filled the bases, but a lineout ended the inning.

BU loaded the bases once more in the eighth but produced just one run off a Blanden sacrifice fly.

Junior second baseman Daniel Nevares led the offense, finishing 3-for-5, while sophomore Jed Lemen (1-1) took the loss.

The Bearcats are scheduled to host Hartford this weekend for a three-game series, the third to last of the regular season. The Hawks (14-28, 11-10 AE) currently hold third place in the conference standings, a half-game ahead of fourth-place BU. The Bearcats stand one-and-a-half games ahead of fifth-place Stony Brook.

Only the top four teams advance to the America East tournament.

“The series with Hartford will have a playoff feel to it I believe,” Sinicki said. “The conference standings are really tight and every game and series moving forward will be an important one.”

First pitch of Saturday’s doubleheader is set for noon at the Bearcats Sports Complex, while Sunday’s closer is scheduled for 1 p.m.