Between completing a sweep of UMBC and seeing players break a 24-year program record and garner America East Player of the Week honors, it’s safe to say the Binghamton softball team had an effective weekend.
Binghamton (12-10, 3-0 AE) hosted the Retrievers (22-14, 0-5 AE) for a single game on Saturday and a doubleheader Sunday, sweeping its opponents by scores of 6-2, 9-6 and 3-1. Freshman outfielder Bridget Hunt earned AE Player of the Week honors on Monday after hitting a team-best .429 average. She has also recorded two doubles, a triple and a homer in her last five games. Senior second baseman Jessica Bump swiped her 45th career base to break the record of 44 set by Christine Pinter in the 1989-90 season. Bump also recorded two home runs through the series.
“Bump is a three-tool weapon,” BU head coach Michelle Burrell said. “She can do everything. When she gets on base she is an absolute weapon, and we have been using that. She has taught our other players to be aggressive.”
Her aggressiveness was made clear in the sixth inning of the series opener after drawing a walk with two outs. With her team already leading by four runs, Bump proceeded to steal second to shatter the old record.
“[The record] is important because I have worked really hard at getting faster over the past four years,” Bump said. “Everyone on our team is great. We are third in the nation at stolen bases per game [2.55]. I am just trying to get on and steal bases.”
BU continued on to win the game, 6-2, on the back of a solid pitching performance by senior Demi Laney, who threw a complete game and struck out nine.
In the opening game of Sunday’s doubleheader, BU received an effective start from freshman pitcher Annika Wiesinger, who pitched 5 2/3 innings and allowed five hits and four earned runs to receive the win in the Bearcats’ 9-6 victory.
“[Wiesinger] did a really nice job,” Burrell said. “She has come in and given us that next look after [Laney]. Her being a lefty is a good, different look for us.”
The BU offense was ignited by the long ball in the early game. Sophomore catcher Taylor Chaffee launched two homers while driving in five runs, and Bump added the other score with a powerful blast of her own over the right-center field fence.
“I have been in a slump lately,” Chaffee said. “To hit the first home run was a confidence booster. I didn’t even mean to hit the second home run. I was protecting, it was an inside pitch and I turned on it and there it went.”
The concluding game opened up with a bang for the Bearcats, when Bump came to bat in the bottom of the first inning and put Binghamton ahead immediately with a lead-off homer.
“My job as a leadoff is to try to set the tone as early as possible,” Bump said. “I was struggling a little bit but was just going after good pitches. I set the tone and everyone behind me followed, and I think that is what kept us going this weekend.”
BU would not relinquish the lead as Laney dominated again, throwing a complete game without surrendering an earned run.
Freshman third baseman Crysti Eichner also added two hits and three runs for the Bearcats, who won the game, 3-1, to complete the three-game sweep.
“We are going to look to take it one game at a time,” Burrell said about her team’s strong start in America East play. “Finishing this third game was important, and it is great to get off to a 3-0 start.”
Eichner exploded offensively for Binghamton over the course of the weekend, finishing the series with five hits, five RBIs and three stolen bases. Laney pitched 16 innings and allowed four earned runs while capturing two victories and a save.
The Bearcats will return to conference action today when they take on Albany in a doubleheader. First pitch is set to begin at 2 p.m. at Albany Field.