After splitting games against Maine on Saturday, the Binghamton softball team looked to capture the series in the first Sunday game. Down by one run with runners on first and second base, the Bearcats had a chance to take the game from Maine in the final inning. With two outs, freshman utility Shelby Carvalho launched a deep fly ball into left-center field that was caught by Maine. This catch ultimately sealed Binghamton’s fate as they were defeated 3-2 in the first game on Sunday.
“We need to work earlier in the game and have better at-bats earlier in the game to give us more confidence in that last inning,” said Binghamton head coach Michelle Johnston. “[We want to be] more consistent offensively and put together better quality at-bats earlier in the game.”
Senior pitcher Rayn Gibson started the first Sunday game for the Bearcats (7-9, 2-9 America East) on the right foot, as she was responsible for all three outs in the first inning. After picking up a ground ball and throwing to first base for the first out, she struck out the following two batters to end the first inning. The Bearcats offense continued where Gibson left off, as junior infielder Marissa Braito smashed a ground ball down the middle for a single. After Braito tagged to second base, senior shortstop Makayla Alvarez launched a two-run homer to put the Bearcats up 2-0.
The Black Bears (10-14, 7-3 AE) responded by scoring three unanswered runs in the next several innings. At the top of the fourth, bases were loaded for Maine with only one out. Despite this jam, senior pitcher Chelsea Howard gave up only one run in the inning. Nevertheless, the Black Bears scored another run in the following inning to take the lead over Binghamton 3-2 at the top of the fifth.
Freshman pitcher Hannah Mearns gave up zero runs in the last two innings to keep the Bearcats within reach to spark a comeback, but Binghamton failed to capitalize on the opportunity as the final out was a deep flyout in the outfield.
Unlike Sunday’s first game, Saturday’s first game was a noncompetitive affair as Binghamton struggled both defensively and offensively. After allowing one run to the Black Bears in the second inning, the Black Bears exploded for four runs in the third inning. Binghamton was never able to claw back into the game and ultimately lost the game 6-0. Sophomore outfielders Jillian Fittry and Tessa Nuss accounted for Binghamton’s only two hits in the contest. Despite the loss, Gibson threw her 300th career strikeout, becoming only the eighth pitcher in Binghamton program history to achieve this feat.
“We’ve relied on her at the mound and [we value] her experience,” Johnston said. “We love the way [Gibson] plays the game. The first play she made defensively today in the first game shows how much she goes all out.”
After getting blown out in the first game, the Bearcats were on a mission in the second Saturday game. After allowing three runs to Maine in the fourth, the Bearcats stormed back into the game, scoring five unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings to catapult themselves above the Black Bears 5-3. In the fourth inning, Alvarez ignited the run, smashing the ball over the fence for a solo home run, to put the Bearcats on the scoreboard. In the fifth, Alvarez hit a two-run RBI single.
Over the weekend, Johnston officially made her return to the field today after being on maternity leave for the earlier portion of the season.
“It feels great to be back out on the field,” Johnston said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time so it was hard to have a break but I really enjoy being back out here.”
The Bearcats will look to improve with a nonconference series against Colgate next weekend for. The first game is set for Saturday, April 24 at noon at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.