The Binghamton University baseball team improved its record to an even .500 for the first time this season when it took three of four from University of Hartford over the weekend. After dropping the series opener on Saturday, 4-2, the Bearcats swept the remaining three games, outscoring the Hawks 20-7 and pushing ahead of the University of Maine (22-19, 8-4 AE) in the America East standings. With three series left on their regular season schedule, the second place Bearcats (18-18, 9-3 AE) now sit just one game back in the loss column behind Stony Brook University (34-10, 12-2 AE).

“I think if you look at our overall record, 18-18, it only speaks to part of the equation,” head coach Tim Sinicki said. “We started this season 0-6 with some games against bigger programs like VCU and Arkansas. We’ve got some ability in our program, and when we’re playing well we’re going to win ball games. And that translates to America East play too.”

In Saturday’s opener, Binghamton senior pitcher Mike Augliera posted one of his best outings of the season statistically, surrendering two earned runs and striking out a season-high 14 batters in six innings of work. Of Augliera’s 95 pitches, 70 were strikes. The Bearcats could not get things started on offense, however, and were outhit 6-3 in their only loss of the weekend.

Binghamton turned the tables in the nightcap, though, and outhit the Hawks 7-3 while collecting three runs in both the second and sixth innings. Sophomore third baseman Joel Stubbs ignited the BU offense in the second with a three-run blast, his first of the year, and the Bearcats never looked back, earning the split with a 7-3 victory.

Sunday’s opener was perhaps the most exciting game of the weekend. Unable to score through six innings and down three runs to the Hawks, the Bearcats exploded for a seventh-inning rally and tied the game at three after loading the bases with no outs.

The game remained tied until the top of the ninth, when the Bearcat offense came out of hibernation and scored eight unanswered runs. Senior Dave Ciocchi was the star of the ninth inning, as he drilled a three-run home run to put the Bearcats up 8-3. Overall, the Bearcats outhit the Hawks 16-8, with eight of the hits coming in the ninth inning. Freshman pitcher Mike Urbanski, who took the mound to pitch in the extra innings, shut down the Hawks and earned the win after striking out three batters and allowing no hits through the eighth and ninth. The Bearcats took the game 11-3.

Sunday’s nightcap was also won with a late Binghamton rally. The Bearcats played down 1-0 for the majority of the game, and recorded only three hits in five innings. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that the Bearcats once again pulled through, scoring two runs on three hits. The Hawks had no answer, as freshman relief pitcher Greg Ostner pitched a scoreless sixth inning to earn the win and junior closer Lee Sosa added his eighth save of the season with a scoreless seventh inning.

The Bearcats are scheduled take on the first-place Seawolves this weekend. Stony Brook topped Binghamton 2-1 in a three-game series earlier this month.

“As a competitor, you look for these opportunities. You try to challenge yourself … so you can see where you stack up against teams,” Sinicki said. “Right now, they’re the best in our conference. They’re sitting at the top, and we’re looking forward to a chance to try and knock them off.”

First pitch is set for noon at David F. Hoy Field at Cornell.