Baseball’s offense finally comes together in dominant sweep of UMBC

The Binghamton baseball team’s offense awoke with a bang this weekend. Plating 32 runs on 39 hits, the Bearcats (9-13, 4-4 America East) completed a series sweep of conference-rival UMBC to even their AE record.

Franz Lino/Staff Photographer Junior left fielder Jake Thomas finished 6 for 8 on Sunday with four RBIs and three runs scored to help power Binghamton to a sweep of UMBC.

Leading the way in Binghamton’s offensive onslaught was freshman catcher Eddie Posavec, who combined to go seven for 11, with five runs and six RBIs. Posavec started the season as the backup catcher but started all three games over the weekend and played a vital role in the sweep.

“I thought overall, it was as great of a weekend as we can ever expect from any catcher, let alone a young man who’s been thrown into a starting position because of an injury to a returning starter,” BU head coach Tim Sinicki said.

“He’s been really solid for us,” Sinicki added. “A lot goes into the position, more than just batting average and runners thrown out. In terms of [Posavec’s] ability to handle the pitching staff and communicate effectively with them, and have the pitchers have the confidence to throw to him, he’s come a long way in a short period of time.”

Alongside Posavec, the rest of the Bearcats’ offense provided a powerful punch. Sophomore third baseman Reed Gamache, junior left fielder Jake Thomas and senior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz all came up big when it mattered, driving in 10 runs and scoring 14 times.

“When it came down to needing to get some hits and score some runs, to either give us the lead or give us a cushion, I thought we did a good job, especially the middle of the order,” Sinicki said.

Senior ace Jack Rogalla (3-3) was on the mound for the first game of the series, and the 16 runs his offense afforded him were more than sufficient. Rogalla pitched seven innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs while striking out six to lower his season ERA to 2.15.

Posavec went four for four while scoring two runs and driving in three runs in the opener. Bereszniewicz added three hits and three runs scored in addition to one stolen base. Senior second baseman Daniel Nevares drove in three runs, including a two-run single that capped off a five-run second inning.

Sophomore third baseman David Schanz had three RBIs, and Thomas added two of his own as Binghamton took the series opener, 16-3.

Sophomore pitcher Jake Cryts got the start in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader and pitched well enough to earn a win, but was credited with a no-decision. Cryts tossed seven shutout innings as he struck out five and surrendered only three hits.

Cryts left the mound with the Bearcats leading the Retrievers, 3-0, thanks to a two-run double by Posavec and an RBI single by junior right fielder Zach Blanden, but the bullpen allowed three runs to score in the top of the eighth to tie the game.

In the bottom of the eighth, Binghamton recorded three straight hits to drive in the game-winning run. Four hits and a fielding error in the inning allowed four Binghamton runners to score, giving them a four-run lead. UMBC was able to get two runners in scoring position in the top of the ninth but failed to drive them in as they fell to BU, 7-3.

Sophomore reliever Mike Bunal earned the win as he pitched the final 1 1/3 inning.

Continuing his impressive offensive performance, Thomas added three hits in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader, including two home runs that were smacked over the right field fence. Junior first baseman Brian Ruby, Blanden, Bereszniewicz and Gamache all had multi-hit games.

“A lot of the pressure falls [Thomas’] way for being the number-four hitter in the lineup and with all the preseason accolades that were bestowed upon him,” Sinicki said. “Driving the ball the way he did, especially [Sunday], I think with that success, it will hopefully turn into something that’s going to be very consistent for him going forward.”

Junior starter Mike Urbanski was on the mound and pitched 4 1/3 innings while surrendering four runs on as many hits. With one out and the bases loaded, Urbanski was pulled, but the bullpen could not get out of the jam. However, BU’s six-run cushion was enough to withstand the blow, as the Bearcats held on for an 8-4 victory.

“I think it’s always difficult to sweep a team in three games, especially when the conference is as balanced as it is,” Sinicki said. “Hats off to our guys for finding a way to get three wins.”

The Bearcats are scheduled for a pair of non-conference games this week. They’ll host Bucknell at 3 p.m. today and Cornell at 4 p.m. Wednesday.