After a yearlong hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Binghamton baseball team kicked off its season in a four-game series last weekend against Hartford. The Bearcats (1-3, 1-3 America East) were able to win their first game of the season, but lost three of four games in their weekend series against the Hawks (3-1, 3-1 AE).
“We’re disappointed in the way we played, we are a program and I am a coach who will never make any excuses,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “While we were all excited to go out and play this weekend, I don’t think we played as well as we’re capable of playing. We’ve got some work to do.”
In the first game on Saturday, Binghamton opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the second inning by sophomore first baseman Kevin Gsell. However, in the latter half of the inning, Binghamton committed three errors which led to three unearned runs crossing the plate. Sophomore pitcher Thomas Babalis allowed just four hits, striking out three and giving up four runs in four innings of work. The Bearcats didn’t put up much of a fight offensively with their second run of the game coming from a solo home run by senior second baseman Alex Baratta in the top of the sixth. Overall, Binghamton was only able to muster four hits in a 5-2 loss in the first game.
In the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Binghamton’s offense came out strong thanks in part to the efforts by junior outfielder Shane Marshall, who went 3-4 with one RBI. Baratta went 2-5 with five RBIs and notched his second home run of the day. Sophomore pitcher Ryan Bryggman started the game and pitched four innings with nine strikeouts, and allowed three runs and five hits. Senior pitcher Jake Miller got the save in three innings of relief, striking out three and allowing just one run to score in Binghamton’s 11-7 victory.
On Sunday, Hartford’s pitching was able to hold Binghamton in check, giving up only six hits and walking only one batter in the first game. BU lost in disappointing fashion after hit by pitch allowed Hartford to score a walk-off run.
Binghamton continued to struggle offensively in the final game of the weekend series. While the Bearcats jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second, they struggled to capitalize with runners on base throughout the game.
“We need to be more consistent,” Sinicki said. “What is really glaring is we struck out 40 times in four games. When you’re not putting pressure on the other team to make defensive plays, you’re giving them free and easy outs.”
Overall, a recurrent theme that seemed to plague the Bearcats over the weekend series was their defense and strikeouts.
“Physical errors are a part of the game,” Sinicki said. “We understand that. But at the same time, you’ve got to make routine plays. I think the errors that we made would widely be considered routine plays for our guys at this level.”
With its on campus stadium under construction this season, the Bearcats will play their home slate in Downtown Binghamton at the home of the Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
BU will take the field for another four-game series against the UMass Lowell this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for noon on Saturday at NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton, New York.