After just two nonconference matchups this season, the Binghamton softball team opened conference play against Stony Brook over the weekend. The Bearcats struggled offensively throughout Saturday’s doubleheader prior to the cancellation of Sunday’s finale due to rain.
Stony Brook entered the series with 16 nonconference games completed, as opposed to Binghamton with only two. The gap in experience seemed to show as Binghamton lost 1-0 in the first game and 10-0 in the second, struggling offensively in both.
In the opener, the Bearcats (2-2, 0-2 America East) were no-hit by Stony Brook’s senior pitcher Dawn Bodrug. Bodrug pitched a complete game with 14 strikeouts as the Bearcats’ offense was stymied.
“In normal times, when we’re facing good competition prior to conference play, we’re able to prepare a little bit more for a pitcher like [Bodrug] but we don’t want to make that our excuse,” said Binghamton assistant coach Jessica Bump. “Offensively, especially in a game where our pitchers are doing a good job keeping it close, our hitters just need to step up and keep their focus and continue to try to have quality at bats as the games go on.”
On the flip side, Binghamton’s pitchers performed well in the 1-0 loss to the Seawolves (13-6, 2-0 AE). Junior Morgan Bienkowski started and went 4.1 innings, and senior Chelsea Howard finished the game without allowing a hit.
“The combination of both [Bienkowski] and [Howard] in game one was great,” Bump said. “We can’t ask us to give us any more than they did. They both attacked the zone — they kept the ball down in the zone. I think they both really stayed composed, and I think that’s why you saw them have good results.”
The lone run scored in the game was a home run by Stony Brook in the third inning.
“[The home run] was just a pitch that was left up in the zone, but obviously mistakes will happen and we have to score to win anyways,” Bump said. “Games don’t come down to one pitch, so that’s just kind of where we talked about our offense needing to have our pitchers and our defense’s backs.”
After a short break, the Bearcats and Seawolves took the field again in what proved to be a more lopsided outing, as Stony Brook won game two 10-0.
“What we saw in game one was both our pitchers and our defense were composed,” Bump said. “From the score [of game two], you might think that [senior Rayn Gibson] didn’t pitch well and that’s not the case. I think she also did what we asked her to do. Stony Brook really didn’t put the ball in play that hard, we just weren’t making plays behind her.”
After being no-hit in the opener, only three Bearcats recorded hits in the second matchup, as Stony Brook scored three runs in the third and seven in the fourth to secure the win.
“Obviously this season is different, but all we can do is learn from each weekend and take it a weekend at a time,” Bump said. “[We’re] continually trying to make improvements and progress so we’re continuing to play good softball as the season goes on.”
The Bearcats will host four games against Albany this weekend in their second AE series of the season. First pitch in game one is set for 1 p.m. on April 3 at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.