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Softball drops four of five at GMU tournament

The Binghamton softball team struggled this weekend at the GMU Cherry Blossom Classic, dropping four of five games over a three-day span.

Franz Lino/Staff Photographer Sophomore catcher Taylor Chaffee jump-started Binghamton’s offense Saturday with a two-run homer in the first inning of BU’s 4-2 victory over Colgate.

“We are disappointed,” BU head coach Michelle Burrell said. “The level of competition we played this past weekend was not comparable to the teams we have been playing. To come out of the weekend one and four, we were all disappointed in the way that we finished.”

The Bearcats (7-10) took on Colgate in their opening game of the tournament and fell behind early. Binghamton committed four errors over the course of the first two innings, leading to eight Colgate runs (five unearned). Colgate (4-10) never looked back, and even though BU managed to score on a home run by sophomore first baseman Lisa Cadogan in the top of the fourth, the team’s bats were relatively silent in the 9-1 loss.

“We let one error lead to others,” Burrell said about the team’s lackluster defensive performance. “Obviously errors are going to happen. We just have to make sure that when they do happen, when the next person has the opportunity, they step up and make the next play.”

In the nightcap of Friday’s doubleheader, Binghamton battled with Akron and took the game to extra innings before losing by two.

Sophomore outfielder Sydney Harbaugh gave the Bearcats the early lead with a home run in the first. But Akron (11-5) answered with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning. The score would remain tied at one until the top of the third, when senior second baseman Jessica Bump singled to lead of the frame, stole second and was singled in by Cadogan to put BU back up by one.

Binghamton could not maintain the advantage, as Akron plated a run in the bottom of the fifth to force extra innings. After a scoreless seventh for both teams, the Bearcats scored a run in the top of the eighth, but Akron put three on the board in the bottom half of the inning and beat Binghamton, 5-3.

BU opened Saturday’s twin bill by exacting revenge on Colgate, defeating the Raiders, 4-2. Senior pitcher Demi Laney dominated for the Bearcats, allowing just two runs over seven innings, while sophomore catcher Taylor Chaffee provided the offense, blasting a two-run homer in the first inning. Cadogan and junior shortstop Caytlin Friis also added RBIs for Binghamton in the game.

“When we took care of everything defensively, I think we saw that we definitely have the capability of winning,” Burrell said.

In the second game of the afternoon the Bearcats played the host, George Mason. Again Binghamton scored first, thanks to an RBI sacrifice fly by Bump. But BU would not score for the rest of the game. George Mason (7-11) plated the equalizer in the second before adding another in the next inning to take the lead. The host pushed across four more over the course of the game, handing Binghamton a decisive 6-1 defeat.

The Bearcats lost their fourth game of the tournament to Akron in the finale on Sunday. Laney dominated early on the hill, holding Akron hitless for the first two innings before allowing two unearned runs in the top of the third. BU tied the score in the bottom of the frame thanks to RBIs by Bump and Cadogan. However, Akron would score five runs over the next three innings, and Binghamton would not recover, losing 7-3.

“I think the biggest thing that I am most disappointed with is that we have had the opportunity to push a lot more runs across, especially early in the game,” Burrell said. “We are just leaving too many runners on base. We are not working to get ourselves ahead. It is something that we are going to focus on going into conference play, taking advantage of opportunities that we have early in the game.”

The Bearcats will return to action this weekend when they take on UMass Lowell in a three-game series to open up America East conference play. Play is set to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday at the River View Field in Lowell, Mass.