In the bottom of the eighth of the final game of the Binghamton softball series against UMass Lowell, junior pitcher Sophia Pappas stepped to the plate and crushed a pitch to left field just inside the foul pole to secure the Bearcats a split of the doubleheader and a split of the series.
“Just excitement, since we lost the first game, we were just looking for a win for the second one and I was just happy to do it for my team,” Pappas said. “I wasn’t expecting to do it myself but that’s how it happened.”
Saturday was Senior Day as the Bearcats said goodbye to their six graduating seniors.
“They have meant a lot,” Pappas said. “Obviously six seniors, that’s a lot of players and they are a big part of the team, kinda the heart of the team right now. So it is a lot to lose.”
BU’s batters had their largest run total in the early game on Saturday and they scored just one run in the later game. In the opener, two RBIs were claimed by senior infielder Makayla Alvarez, and the Bearcats were able to drive 11 runs across the plate for a resounding 11-5 victory. With 12 of her family members watching on, redshirt senior pitcher Rayn Gibson got the start and gave up five earned runs over five and two-thirds.
The other half of the doubleheader went the other way, as freshman pitcher Hannah Mearns took a three-hit shutout through seven innings but the bats from the first game had gotten cold. Binghamton only needed to muster one run across to secure the victory in the regulation innings, but they were unable to do that. After pitching a complete game, Mearns gave up two runs in the eighth. Binghamton scored just one run during the eighth and the Bearcats lost 2-1.
“I just really liked our fight,” said Binghamton head coach Michelle Johnston. “I thought we were putting together some really great at-bats there at the end and really we put together some pretty great at-bats throughout the day. I just felt like our girls were trusting each other offensively and if we are going to lose we will go down like that.”
The early Sunday game started off with an exchange of single-run innings with each side plating one in two out of the first three innings. Lowell then plated two in the fourth and BU lost 4-2. The nightcap was a more contentious affair, as neither side scored more than one run in an inning, but the Bearcats ultimately won 3-2.
“Overall we were a lot more consistent than what we have been,” Johnston said. “I thought we were putting together good at-bats all weekend. I thought they came out today after the loss yesterday ready to play and just are doing a good job playing for each other both offensively and defensively.”
Though the Bearcats probably won’t be seeing postseason play this year, their freshman pitchers performed well during the weekend. Freshman pitcher Allison L’Amoreaux along with Mearns both pitched complete games and both only gave up two earned runs.
“[Mearns] has been solid on the mound throughout the entire season for us,” Johnston said. “With both her and [L’Amoreaux] being freshmen we feel really good about how they have progressed already and how they are going to continue to progress here. They are both just doing a really great job.”
The Bearcats will play their final games of the regular season with a three-game series against Hartford next week. The first game is set for 1 p.m. on Friday at Hartford Softball Field in West Hartford, Connecticut.