After a long offseason, the Binghamton baseball team is ready to kick off the 2019 campaign this Friday.
“I’m excited,” senior outfielder Anthony Meduri said. “I think we’ve got a really good team this year, good combination of young talent and some older guys who have seen what it takes to win an America East championship. With the combination of those two, we’re looking pretty good this year.”
In 2018, Meduri started in all 46 games he played. The seasoned veteran hit primarily first or second in the lineup, finishing with a .274 batting average, 46 hits and 15 RBIs.
The team is two years removed from an AE regular season title, but last year was a disappointment for BU. After being picked as the unanimous favorite in the AE preseason poll, the Bearcats ended the season with an overall record of 18-30-1, going 9-15 in AE play.
“The last two years we’ve seen … the bad and two years ago the good where we had a 30-win season, and last year wasn’t a 30-win season,” junior pitcher Jake Miller said. “So, I think the key word here — I think Coach [Tim] Sinicki’s mentioned it a lot in the last couple of weeks — is just consistency. We have a tough out-of-conference schedule this year, so I think we’ll obviously take our lumps like we always do when we’re playing a lot of tough teams out of conference.”
Last season, Miller made 11 appearances with two starts, striking out 24 hitters in 24 innings.
Since the conclusion of the 2018 season, the team has spent months preparing themselves for this spring.
“Really, during the offseason, everyone just wants to get in the weight room and get stronger,” senior infielder Matt Tsukroff said. “Work on their mobility … other than that, just coming into practice on a daily basis wanting to work hard and wanting to get better every single day. Everyone’s been doing that so far, and I think we’re all ready to go for the start of the season coming at the end of this week.”
Last year, Tsukroff appeared in 10 games with five starts, all at first base. He is expected to take on a much bigger role this season.
“I’m trying not to think of it too differently as I have in prior years,” Tsukroff said. “[I will] take what I’ve learned from my experience here at BU, and from the people in front of me that I’ve learned from, and work hard day in and day out on a regular basis, both on the field and in the weight room and in the classroom, and serve as a leader for the young kids on my team, and hopefully we’ll be in a good position to win.”
The Bearcats are led by veteran head coach Tim Sinicki, the longest tenured head coach at Binghamton. Entering his 27th year as a coach, he is the 12th longest tenured coach in all of college baseball. His long stretch at BU has seen some truly memorable moments, including 10 conference championships and four NCAA Regionals berths. Sinicki has been named AE Coach of the Year six times.
“I think his track record shows … I think it’s nine combined titles in the last twelve years,” Meduri said. “He knows what it takes to win, and even though last year wasn’t great, he just left it where it was there and came back and we were ready to go. He did the right things, put us in the right places this entire year so far to prepare us for our first weekend. That was what he’s done in the past and I think it’s what he’s gonna continue to do here.”
The team begins its season with a three-game series against Michigan at the spring training home of the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida. A three-game series against the No. 17 Wolverines will provide an early test for the team. The Bearcats will continue to play on the road until mid-March, facing off against nonconference opponents.
First pitch in the team’s season opener against Michigan is set for 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15.