Coming off a strong 7-2 victory over Winthrop on Friday and leading 5-0 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Binghamton softball team was in a good position to win its first series of the season against the Eagles (13-14, 2-4 Big South). However, 11 consecutive Winthrop runs squashed the Bearcats’ momentum entirely, and the Eagles captured both of Saturday’s games to take the series.
“I feel like everything we had on Friday, we didn’t have on Saturday,” said BU head coach Michelle Johnston. “It was kind of an overall combination of pitching and defensive errors — just didn’t make the adjustments we needed to on Saturday.”
Binghamton (8-12) never trailed on Friday and put together an explosive offensive show combined with a sound defensive effort, steadied by junior Rozlyn Price’s best pitching performance of the season and solid appearances at the plate. In a complete game, Price allowed only one earned run and struck out six hitters, while going 2-for-4 with a home run. Her dominance was complemented by sophomore infielder Alex Guay and classmate utility player Sarah Benn each going yard. Price’s all-around performance helped the Bearcats cruise to an easy win.
“[Price] threw a really good game,” Johnston said. “She was getting ahead on batters. We made some really good plays defensively. [Freshman outfielder] Chloe [Morgan] had two big outs … both diving catches in the outfield that really helped us get some momentum on defense. Roz had a lot of confidence in her defense.”
With the exception of a brief early lead, BU was thoroughly outplayed by Winthrop in both games on Saturday. The Bearcats built their five-run advantage by playing small ball, scoring on two singles, a walk, a fielder’s choice and a double steal. The team unraveled quickly, though, as Winthrop racked up 11 runs in the team’s final four innings at bat.
Binghamton committed five errors, and the Eagles pounced on each BU mistake. Junior pitcher Rayn Gibson got the start for BU, surrendering seven earned runs on five hits and five walks. The team’s focus and execution from Friday was not found, as BU looked lackadaisical in its approach both in the field and at the plate.
“We had a lot of opportunities defensively to get out of innings,” Johnston said. “We had two foul balls that could’ve been caught, and had they been caught, we would’ve been out of the inning without runs scored … I think that wore on our pitchers a little bit. We weren’t getting ahead of batters, and that really hurt us.”
In the rubber match, Binghamton remained competitive for a little over half of the game. After falling down 2-0 early, a two-run home run from Guay tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth. The Bearcats failed to score another run for the rest of the contest, dropping the match 7-2. Sophomore pitcher Chelsea Howard earned the start for BU and pitched the entire game. Winthrop kept consistent pressure on the bases, tagging Howard for 11 hits and drawing three walks.
With nonconference play nearing an end, Binghamton returns to action for its first home series of the season in a doubleheader on Wednesday against Cornell. After a 2018 campaign marred by having a few different home fields, BU will be able to play games at the Bearcats Sports Complex for the entirety of this season.
“We’re excited [to play at home],” Johnston said. “Looks like we’re gonna have a decent week of weather here, and I think we should definitely get the games in on Wednesday and hopefully get some momentum going heading into conference play.”
First pitch from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York is scheduled for 3 p.m. on March 27.