Trailing Stony Brook in the America East (AE) standings, the Binghamton baseball team looked to gain some ground against their SUNY rival over the weekend. The Bearcats split their series against the Seawolves, winning the first games of Saturday and Sunday’s doubleheaders but losing the nightcap.
“We’ve got to play good baseball in all areas, plain and simple,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “[We must focus on] playing a good, crisp, clean, fundamentally sound game.”
The top-two teams from each division in the AE make the playoffs. Prior to this weekend’s games, the Bearcats were the sole second seed in Division B. However, the Bearcats are now tied at second place in the Division B standings, thanks to a five-game winning streak from NJIT.
“We know every game is important right now,” Sinicki said. “That second spot in the postseason tournament is going to be competitive. Our guys realize what’s at stake.”
Binghamton cruised to victory in their first Saturday game against Stony Brook 10-0. The Bearcats scored five runs in the first four innings and cushioned their lead in the last inning by scoring five runs. Freshman outfielder Tommy Reifler fueled the Bearcats in the game, scoring three RBIs including a solo home-run in the fourth. Binghamton had five other players on the team who recorded at least one RBI. Sophomore pitcher Thomas Babalis pitched a complete game, not allowing a single run in all seven innings of pitching. Babalis struck out five batters in the contest.
“It was probably the best game I’ve seen [Babalis] pitch in a Binghamton uniform,” Sinicki said. “It was about the execution of his pitches. He was in total control of that ballgame. He was dominant. That was the best I’ve seen him throw for us.”
The nightcap game on Saturday saw Binghamton struggle early on as they allowed 10 runs to Stony Brook in the first three innings. After trailing 10-2 in the bottom of the third, the Bearcats scored four runs in the fourth and were only down 10-6. Nevertheless, Binghamton was unable to capitalize on this momentum and ultimately lost the Saturday nightcap game to Stony Brook 13-9. The Bearcats were led by senior outfielder Daniel Franchi and sophomore first baseman Kevin Gsell who each hit two RBIs respectively.
After losing the Saturday nightcap, the Bearcats were resilient in their first game on Sunday. After allowing two runs in the first four innings, the Bearcats’ offense went into top gear in the fifth inning, scoring three runs to take the lead against the Seawolves 3-2. The Bearcats added to their lead in the last inning after senior third baseman Justin Drpich smashed a ball over the wall for a three-run home run. The Bearcats secured the victory against the Seawolves 6-2. Sophomore pitcher Jack Collins and freshman pitcher Justin Rosner combined for nine strikeouts in the game and Collins moved to 3-0 in the season. Rosner did not give up any hits in just over two innings of play.
After winning the first Sunday game, the Bearcats failed to capture the nightcap game, losing 5-1. The Bearcats fell into a deficit in the second inning after giving up four runs to the Seawolves. Although the Bearcats had bases loaded in both the seventh and eighth innings, the Bearcats compiled only one run. The Bearcats were defeated in Sunday’s nightcap game 5-1.
“It can be a cruel game,” Sinicki said. “To their credit, [Stony Brook] got out of some jams and didn’t allow us to shrink that deficit. As much as we did a good job getting guys in position to score, we couldn’t come up with that clutch two-out hit.”
After splitting doubleheader weekend games against Stony Brook, the Bearcats will play UMBC in a four-game series next weekend, beginning on Saturday, May 8. The first pitch is set for noon at NYSEG Stadium in Binghamton, New York.