The Binghamton University men’s baseball team entered the weekend holding the second seed in the America East conference. After being swept by the University at Albany, however, the Bearcats now find themselves sitting fourth place.
Though the Bearcats (19-24, 10-7 America East) have lost five of their last six, the University of Maine helped them clinch a berth in the conference tournament by beating University of Hartford on Saturday.
Binghamton suffered a doubleheader sweep on Saturday by scores of 9-7 and 8-6. Senior Mike Augliera and redshirt-junior Jake Lambert did not have their best pitching outings, combining to allow 20 hits on the day.
In the opener, Augliera lasted only 4.1 innings and gave up nine runs on 13 hits. This was only the second time this season that Augliera was taken out of the game before the sixth inning.
The Great Danes scored two runs in both the second and third innings, followed by a run in the fourth and four in the fifth. The Bearcats scored a run in the both the second and third innings, but they still trailed by seven going into the fifth.
Binghamton began to fight back in the fifth, however. After a walk and a single put two men on base with two outs, senior left fielder Dave Ciocchi blasted a three run homer to center field to cut the Albany lead to four. Binghamton tacked on another run in each of the sixth and seven innings, but stranded four total runners in the sixth and the seventh to end the game and give Albany the win.
Ciocchi finished the game with four RBI, while freshman third baseman Brian Ruby went 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Junior catcher Mike Danaher and freshman designated hitter Zach Blanden also contributed offensively, combining for three RBI.
Albany starting pitcher Zach Kraham picked up the win, throwing 5.1 innings and allowing six runs on six hits. He walked only four and struck out seven.
The Great Dane bats remained hot in the second game, scoring eight runs on 14 hits. After each team scored a run in the first inning, Albany tacked on another in each of the third, fifth, and sixth innings to take a 4-1 lead.
In the home frame of the sixth, however, the Bearcats battled back. After a walk and an error, Ruby fired an RBI single to right field to narrow the deficit to two. Another single loaded the bases for the Bearcats. After junior first baseman Jordan Smucker was hit by a pitch, two walks brought in two more runs, giving the Bearcats a 5-4 lead going into the seventh. Albany quickly countered however, scoring two runs in the seventh and one in the eighth.
Binghamton also scored a run off of three hits in the eighth, bringing the team to within one run of tying the game, but the Great Danes tacked on another run in the ninth to extend their lead and ultimately give them the win.
Lambert had allowed only two earned runs in his previous 31 innings before giving up four runs in six innings on Saturday. Freshman relief pitcher Anthony Grillini took the loss for the Bearcats allowing three runs on five hits.
Binghamton left 12 runners stranded on base throughout the game, while picking up 11 hits.
Sophomore second baseman Daniel Nevares and freshman right fielder Scott Hagan went 2-for-4 on the day and Ruby went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Ciocchi also contributed with an RBI, giving him a total of five on the day.
The Bearcats’ woes continued on Sunday, losing 4-1 and 9-8 to the Great Danes.
Binghamton never led the opener, falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first. Junior pitcher Jay Lynch surrendered all four runs through the first three innings, but he settled down to hold Albany hitless over the next three.
But Binghamton’s bats couldn’t battle back.
The second game was a totally different story, as neither team could hold a lead. After a back-and-forth seven innings, Binghamton led 8-6. But the Great Danes scored three runs in the eighth off freshman pitcher Mike Urbanski to win 9-8.
The Bearcats will conclude their season with a three-game set against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County beginning on Friday.