Competing in a three-game series on the road against Longwood University over the weekend, the Binghamton baseball team came out victorious in two games.
The two wins came on Friday and Sunday, and were the Bearcats’ first of the season.
“We’re all happy of course to win the series, but we have a ways to go and work to do to be the team we want to be,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki.
Binghamton (2-7) out-hit Longwood (3-9) 13-7 in Friday’s game, securing a 10-8 victory. BU’s hitting attack was sparked by redshirt senior infielder Alex Baratta, who went 4-for-4 with a career-high five RBIs. Baratta opened the scoring with an RBI single in the first, added a sacrifice fly in the second, a two-run single in the third and a two-out, RBI single in the seventh to give the Bearcats a 10-2 lead.
The Bearcats started off hot, scoring one run in the first inning, three in the second and five in the third, giving them an early 9-0 lead over the Lancers. However, they were only able to score one run in the final six innings, allowing the Lancers to mount a comeback. The Lancers scored two runs in the sixth, four in the eighth and two in the ninth before the Bearcats closed out the game after a ground out from junior first baseman Tyler Mahone. Sophomore outfielder Cullan Wadsworth was a main contributor to the Lancers’ comeback effort, as he batted 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Sophomore infielder Hunter Gilliam was a main piece as well, as he hit three of the Lancers’ six total RBIs.
Binghamton’s ace sophomore starting pitcher Thomas Babalis struck out a career-high nine batters and went 6.0 innings, allowing just two runs on three hits. The victory improved Babalis’ record to 1-1 on the season.
The Bearcats struggled in the second game of the series, as they were only able to score in one of the nine innings. Longwood scored six runs in the first three innings and one in the seventh, defeating the Bearcats 7-2.
The Lancers out-hit the Bearcats 10-7 and Gilliam was again a main contributor for the Lancers, going 3-for-3 from the plate and scoring one RBI. He has a batting average .319 on the year thus far. In the sixth inning, junior catcher Sam Freedman put Binghamton on the board with a two-run homer in a DH role. The inning started with senior third baseman Justin Drpich hitting a single and ended with junior outfielder Andrew Eng grounding out to second base. Binghamton was held to one hit for the remainder of the game.
Freshman pitcher Douglas Goodwin had the best outing of the day out of the three Binghamton pitchers, giving up zero hits and runs in 3.1 innings pitched. He hasn’t allowed a run in his first three collegiate outings (three hits in 8.0 IP).
Binghamton won the weekend series in the rubber game, scoring five runs in the first three innings and holding Longwood scoreless in eight innings, all behind the efforts of junior pitcher Josh Kopcza and freshman pitcher Dominic Buonadonna, resulting in an 11-4 victory.
The Bearcats put together 15 hits in a group effort, as six players on the team had at least two hits. Junior shortstop Jake Evans led the team in hits with three, which is also his season high. Freshman outfielder Tommy Reifler went 2-for-4 and led the team in RBIs with three. He’s started his collegiate career batting 4-for-11. Sophomore first baseman Kevin Gsell hit his first home run of the season to lead off the eighth, giving him one RBI among two hits on the day. Senior catcher TJ Wegmann, sophomore infielder Cavan Tully and Drpich all had two hits each.
Kopcza only gave up five total hits in 6.0 innings. He gave up zero walks, and used his only two strikeouts to close out the fifth with two men on base. After sophomore pitcher Dom Dirado gave up four runs in the seventh, Buonadonna entered and ended the inning with a groundout with the bases loaded.
Binghamton is looking to win another three-game series next weekend against the Virginia Military Institute. The first pitch in the opener is set for Friday, March 6 at 3 p.m. from Gray Minor Stadium in Lexington, Virginia.