Over the weekend, the Binghamton baseball team split two doubleheaders in its series against UMBC. While the Bearcats came in hot at bat during the weekend series and tallied a combined 46 hits, consistency on the mound eluded them, especially during games two and three. The Retrievers drove in 36 total runs over the weekend and won games two and three, but Binghamton took game one and game four to even the series.
“Everybody is going to have their off day,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “Unfortunately, we didn’t pitch well during games two and three, our command wasn’t what it needed to be. It just didn’t work out for us in those games. Consistency is what we’re striving for.”
Binghamton (10-10,10-10 America East) opened the first game strong. Senior outfielder Daniel Franchi led the offense, opening up the scoring in first inning with a two-run homer while driving in three runs on the day. Even though UMBC (14-14, 9-14 AE) was up early, the Binghamton offense finished strong, scoring five unanswered runs and securing a 8-3 win. Sophomore pitcher Thomas Babalis allowed just three runs and four hits while striking out seven batters in seven innings of work.
“[Babalis] has been able to get his secondary pitches more in the strike zone then earlier in the year and I think that’s making his fastball play up a little bit too,” Sinicki said. “He’s a hard worker, he wants to be perfect and it’s really panned out for him his last couple of starts.”
While Binghamton dropped its second outing 15-9, its offensive unit kept the Bearcats in contention. Junior outfielder Shane Marshall went 5-5 with a home run and drove in two runs, and sophomore first baseman Kevin Gsell drove in four runs on the day. However, their efforts were not enough, as Binghamton’s pitching struggled to keep UMBC off the scoresheet, giving up five runs to the Retrievers in the fifth inning alone.
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader looked very similar to game two of the previous day. Despite Binghamton driving in nine runs on the day, its pitching hurt the team after allowing 14 runs in seven innings. Franchi continued swinging a hot bat, driving in two runs on two hits, and freshman catcher Kevin Reilly had the biggest game of his young career, going 2-3 with three RBIs. However, the Bearcats dropped the outing 14-9.
In the final game of the weekend series, Binghamton was able to turn around its pitching woes. While junior pitcher Josh Kopcza allowed four runs during his 5.2 innings on the mound, sophomore pitcher Tanner Beang had a strong relief outing, pitching 3.1 scoreless innings, striking out four and only allowing one hit.
The game built up into a nail-biting conclusion, as both teams traded runs early in the game. However, in the top of the seventh, Gsell continued his strong weekend, driving in two runners and giving the Bearcats a 6-4 victory to split the series.
“This was an interesting weekend in that our offense got going, but we were a bit more inconsistent on the mound than we had been,” Sinicki said. “We’ve got to try and put all those phases together at one time and we did that this weekend in the games we won. We had good offense, good pitching, good defense. But it’s got to be there on a more consistent basis.”
BU will hit the road again next weekend to play four games against Stony Brook University on Saturday, May 1 and Sunday, May 2. First pitch is scheduled for noon at Joe Nathan Field in Stony Brook, New York.