In its second weekend of play, the Binghamton softball team picked up its first win of the season. Competing in six games at the Tiger Invitational on the campus of Auburn University, Binghamton (1-10) fell twice to Auburn and No. 18 Minnesota and split its two games against Georgia Southern.
“I think we obviously saw some really good competition this weekend,” said Binghamton head coach Michelle Johnston. “Overall, I was happy with how we progressed offensively and on the mound. We made quite a few mistakes defensively and just playing the caliber of teams that we did you can’t do that against those kind of teams and give them extra opportunities.”
On Friday, the Bearcats were defeated by Georgia Southern and Minnesota, losing 8-2 to the Eagles (11-9) and 11-0 to the Golden Gophers (12-7).
Binghamton’s lone win of the weekend was on Saturday, with a narrow comeback victory over Georgia Southern. With the team trailing 1-0 in the seventh inning, senior infielder Kassidy Seary launched a home run to tie the game and send it into extra innings. In the top of the eighth, senior outfielder Stephanie Ragusa hit a lead-off triple and then scored on a wild pitch.
“Georgia Southern’s a good team, we got to see what I think is their number-one pitcher, so that definitely was a good win for us,” Johnston said.
With a 2-1 lead, senior pitcher Rayn Gibson secured the final three outs of the game, finishing a complete game with seven strikeouts.
“She was really focused throughout that entire game,” Johnston said. “Overall, she pitched very well this weekend, and again if we don’t make a couple of mistakes here and there, I think we’re in those games a lot closer than what the score shows.”
Gibson pitched in two other games over the weekend. She, along with the rest of the Bearcats’ staff, was challenged with facing hitters from power conference opponents.
“I think it’s great for them to see that kind of lineup early,” Johnston said. “[Junior pitcher] Chelsea [Howard] did a really good job this weekend too as far as staying focused throughout her innings. She threw more than what she normally does in a weekend and I thought she did a really good job staying focused with probably being tired as well.”
In the night cap on Saturday against the host team, Auburn, the Tigers (14-8) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first inning. Howard came into the game after two outs and allowed just one run throughout the rest of the game, which finished as a 10-2 defeat.
After losing to Minnesota on Sunday morning, the Bearcats regrouped with a strong outing in a loss to Auburn. The team jumped out to a 5-1 lead behind strong pitching by Gibson and home runs from Seary and senior designated player Rozlyn Price before surrendering 10 runs in the final five innings of the 11-6 loss.
The game was most notable for the improvements on offense for Binghamton. After scoring just six runs in the first five games of the season, the team matched that total in one game against an opponent from the Southeastern Conference.
“They’re getting more confident with every game that they play,” Johnston said. “Some of our hitters that did really well for us last year, we’re kinda still waiting for them to come on the way that they have in the past, but I think our confidence is getting there.”
As the nonconference season rolls on, Binghamton is set to travel to Virginia on Friday for five games in the Hampton & Norfolk State Tournament. First pitch against Drexel in the first game is set for 2 p.m. on March 6 at NSU Softball Field in Norfolk, Virginia.