The Binghamton University baseball team undoubtedly hoped for a better opening series.
The Bearcats dropped all three games of the weekend to Virginia Commonwealth University, starting with their first game of the season on Friday.
Binghamton lost 5-1 on both Friday and Saturday, before things got out of hand on Sunday, when VCU rallied to score 12 unanswered runs, leaving the Bearcats with a 12-3 loss.
“We have higher expectations than that,” Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki said. “But at the same time, it’s only three out of 51 games.”
Both of Binghamton’s first two losses resulted from late-game collapses in pitching. In Friday’s game, Binghamton allowed a combined four runs in the seventh and eighth innings, after holding VCU to just one run through the first six. Binghamton struggled in the seventh and eighth innings again on Saturday, this time allowing a combined three runs. The Bearcats committed three errors in the game, though four of the Rams’ five runs were still earned.
Sunday’s loss proved the most disheartening of the series. After taking a 3-0 lead in the second, the Bearcats were unable to score for the rest of the game. VCU jumped ahead in the third, scoring four runs on four hits. Despite having plenty of chances for a comeback throughout the game, the Bearcats were unable to capitalize and left a total of 12 men stranded on base while striking out 10 times.
“I think when you look at the losses you can find lapses in the offense, defense and pitching at certain points,” Sinicki said. “Plain and simple, we need to get better in all areas.”
Sinicki did highlight some positives from the weekend, however.
He praised senior Mike Augliera and junior Jay Lynch for providing “outstanding starts on the mound.” Augliera allowed only four hits during the six innings he pitched Friday, Lynch allowed four hits in four innings of work on Saturday. Combined, the two players surrendered only three earned runs.
In addition, Sinicki commended a few other players for playing well defensively.
“I thought [sophomore] John Howell was terrific at shortstop, as was [sophomore] Billy Bereszniewicz in center field and [junior] Mike Danaher behind the plate.”
While offensively the Bearcats seemed to struggle — they scored only five runs on the weekend — freshman utility player Jake Thomas had a three-game-start to remember. Thomas batted 5-for-11 (.454 average), with an on-base percentage of .500 and two RBI.
Excluding Thomas, however, no Binghamton player achieved a batting average higher than .250 for the weekend. The next-best OBP was .308.
In spite of this, Sinicki remained positive in light of the team’s losses.
“I saw some things that would lead me to believe this team has the ability to be very good,” he said. “ However, we have plenty of work ahead of us in order to get to that point.”
The Bearcats are to set to return to Virginia this weekend to face Norfolk State University where they will be playing a double-header Saturday, along with another game Sunday afternoon.
When asked about the team’s future, Sinicki was committed to the idea that the team would improve in the coming weeks.
“The only prediction I can make is that we are going to get better,” he said. “I know that both the players and coaches in the program will make sure of that.”
First pitch for Game 1 of Saturday’s double-header is set for 1 p.m. at Marty L. Miller Field in Norfolk, Va.