With the winning run at the plate in the top of the ninth, only one out and down 5-3, the Binghamton baseball team had a chance to tie up the game. But the late-game heroics did not come for the Bearcats (8-10, 1-1 America East) against the Penn State Nittany Lions, as they hit into a double play to end the game, their third double play of the game. Binghamton loaded the bases three times, managed to get 17 players on base, but could not find a way to score as they fell to Penn State, 5-3.
BU head coach Tim Sinicki could not deny that he was a little disappointed with the loss, as he would be any loss, but he also saw some things he really liked from the team.
“We did some good things,” Sinicki said. “We did a couple of good things on the mound, in the field, batter’s box. We did good things. We just didn’t do enough of them to win against a team out of the Big Ten, in a major conference and a very tight ballgame.”
Binghamton did a good job keeping itself in the game against the Nittany Lions (14-6, 0-3 AE). For most of the game, BU’s pitching and fielding was solid, allowing only three runs through the first seven innings. Binghamton was able to capitalize on a five-hit inning to tie up the game in the top of the eighth, but allowed Penn State to regain the lead after a throwing error-enabled runners to advance to second and third in the bottom of the inning. A single by Penn State was all it needed to go back up by two runs, and the Bearcats failed to score again in the ninth.
Time at the mound was split almost evenly between five pitchers, most of whom were freshmen. Freshman pitcher Ryan Bryggman was charged with the loss, allowing three runs on three hits in 1.3 innings pitched. Overall, though, Sinicki was pretty happy with the pitching he saw from his freshmen.
“We ran out there three freshmen and one redshirt freshman, and I thought each one of them did a good job,” Sinicki said. “Certainly a lot of positives with those guys and I think they all have bright futures in the program.”
Penn State did well enough on offense, but did not pitch a strong game, gifting Binghamton plenty of offensive opportunities. The Nittany Lions’ rotation allowed eight walks and nine hits to the Bearcats, but Binghamton still could not find a way to score. With bases loaded in the first inning with one out and facing the same scenario in the third inning with no outs, Binghamton only managed to score a run by being walked. It stranded a total of 12 players on base throughout the game.
“I think sometimes when you have those situations, I think guys try to do too much at times and we’re trying to get our guys to understand what their approach needs to be,” Sinicki said. “You know, putting the ball in play, obviously being able to drive in a run. Even on outs, if you can tack on a run, one here, one there.”
Leading the Bearcats offensively were redshirt junior left fielder Daniel Franchi, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI and freshman third baseman Zachary Taylor, who batted 2-for-5 on the day and scored a run. And while senior right fielder Sean Trenholm did not garner a hit, he did draw three of the eight walks allowed by Penn State pitchers.
Binghamton has gone through some uneven play recently. The team has alternated between wins and losses in its last five games, but Sinicki is not too shaken up about that trend.
“You look in the major leagues and you play 162 games and you hope to win 90 [to] 100 of them to get into the playoffs,” Sinicki said. “So there’s gonna be losses. That’s gonna happen. But our goal is to play our best baseball.”
Binghamton will look to win some important in-conference games when it travels to Albany for a three-game series this weekend. First pitch in the series opener is scheduled for noon on Saturday, March 30 from Varsity Field in Albany, New York.