Shaking off a bout of recent struggles, the Binghamton University baseball team has now won five straight games, including a sweep of University of Maryland, Baltimore County this weekend at nearby NYSEG stadium — the home of the Binghamton Mets.
Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki said he has been pleased with the way the Bearcats are playing, and is most impressed with the team’s increased focus on teamwork.
“We got contributions from a lot of different guys this weekend, which is why we were able to get the wins,” Sinicki said. “We didn’t play good enough to just rely on just one or two guys to carry our team … everyone pitched in.”
The Bearcats struggled for the majority of Wednesday’s game at Cornell University, totaling just six hits through the first six innings. But trailing 3-1 in the seventh and in need of runs, Binghamton exploded offensively and collected six total hits during the seventh and eighth innings.
Freshman Jake Thomas’ two-run home run in the seventh tied the game, and a RBI single by freshman Brian Ruby in the same inning gave Binghamton the lead. The Bearcats went on to score two more runs in the eighth, solidifying their advantage.
In the 6-4 win, Binghamton utilized an uncommon pitching rotation strategy as Sinicki used eight pitchers.
“What happens mid-week is there’s a crunch with good starting pitching,” he said. “In an effort to keep as many guys possible as sharp as possible, we break things up. We generally split things up and let guys pitch an inning here and an inning there, that way they’re getting an opportunity on the mound to be in game situations. We’re going to need those guys on the weekend eventually.”
Binghamton opened the weekend’s series against UMBC on Saturday with a nail-biting 8-6 victory. The Bearcats jumped out to a big lead quickly and scored five runs in the first three innings before adding three more in the sixth to push their lead to 8-0.
Senior starting pitcher Mike Augliera controlled the game into the seventh inning, allowing just two hits and striking out nine batters. But Augliera was pulled after allowing three runs and six batters to reach base in the seventh.
Senior reliever Chris Nagorski recorded two outs while giving up two runs. Junior closer Lee Sosa was brought in with two runners on base, two outs and the tying run up to bat. After surrendering an RBI double, Sosa ended the game with a strike out of UMBC catcher Jason Allinder on three straight pitches. Sosa was credited with the save, one of two he earned on the weekend.
“Anytime your closer can give you two saves in a weekend, that’s a good effort,” Sinicki said. “And that’s Lee Sosa; he did a great job.”
In the second game of the doubleheader, Binghamton showcased its offensive firepower, steamrolling UMBC in a 14-8 victory. Binghamton scored in every inning but the third and seventh, chalking up three runs in four separate innings.
On Sunday, Binghamton pushed past UMBC 4-1 to take the series and complete the sweep behind junior starting pitcher Jake Lambert. Lambert allowed one unearned run on two hits in the first inning and allowed just four more hits and no runs for his remaining seven. He was named America East Pitcher of the Week for his efforts.
Behind Lambert, the Bearcats flexed their defensive muscles as UMBC stranded 12 runners on base.
Sosa was credited with his second save of the weekend, his sixth this season, after he induced a bases-loaded double play to end the game.
The Bearcats are scheduled to return to action Tuesday with a doubleheader against Marist College. Sinicki said the Bearcats plan to use a strategy similar to the gameplan used against Cornell.
“I do know we’ll throw quite a few pitchers again … We’ll probably throw anywhere between six to 10 pitchers,” he said. “We’ll probably switch some guys in and out of the lineups. Some guys who haven’t had a chance to play a lot recently will probably get an opportunity to play some, and I’m looking for an opportunity to see those guys play well.”
First pitch of Tuesday’s doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. in Poughkeepsie.