Coming off of a disappointing series against Hartford, the Binghamton baseball team looked to bounce back in its first home outings of the season against the UMass Lowell River Hawks. After losing the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, freshman outfielder Tommy Reifler made a diving catch on the warning track in the eighth inning of the second game to prevent the River Hawks from getting extra bases and secured the Bearcats’ 3-2 lead. Binghamton went on to win the game against them to break even in the weekend series.
The first game of the doubleheader got away from the Bearcats (2-4, 2-4 AE) as they fell to the River Hawks (5-10, 4-2 AE) by a final score of 14-1. UMass Lowell scored four runs in the second inning to take a 4-1 lead and didn’t look back, scoring an additional 10 runs and earning 14 hits throughout the game. Sophomore pitcher Thomas Babalis started the game for the Bearcats and pitched 2.2 innings while giving up seven runs, five of which were earned over eight hits.
“It was an uncharacteristic performance by our number one starter [Babalis],” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “He’s been really good for us [since] the day he stepped on campus, so it was just one of those outings where he didn’t have his best stuff and they took advantage of it, so I’m not too concerned about his situation. We’re all entitled to a bad outing here and there. It happens at all levels including the big-league level so I don’t put much stock into what happened on Saturday with him and I know he’ll continue to work hard to get to where he typically is pitching at.”
In the second game of the day, the Bearcats took the lead in the seventh inning on a wild pitch, and junior shortstop Jake Evans scored from third. Evans was able to advance to third thanks to a series of sacrifices from Reifler and senior outfielder Daniel Franchi.
“It’s a great sign [being able to bounce back] … the fact that we were able to shake off a loss in game one that we took is a great sign for our guys, and they did a wonderful job at erasing that and getting ready to play game two,” Sinicki said. “We had a great effort so I was really happy with them with the second game on Saturday.”
The weekend was supposed to conclude for the Bearcats on Sunday, but the games were canceled due to rain in the forecast. According to Sinicki, lack of playing time is the biggest issue for the team since they didn’t play nonconference games.
“The hardest thing that we are facing right now is playing teams that have already played 12 more games than we have,” Sinicki said. “There’s nothing that [compares to] game experience and how it prepares you for the rest of the season. We just didn’t have those preseasons, nonconference games this year, so Lowell comes in here this weekend, they’ve already got 12 games under their belt, and maybe even more, but they have double-digit games, while we played four, so that’s our biggest obstacle right now.”
The Bearcat’s next games are scheduled for Friday, April 2 against the University of Maine. The first pitch is scheduled for noon at Mahaney Diamond in Orono, Maine.