The Binghamton men’s baseball team dropped the back two games of a three-game series against No. 23 Old Dominion Sunday afternoon. The weekend series saw BU take the first game 4-1 before dropping the second game 5-2 and the third game 8-7 in extra innings.
“I didn’t think we played our best baseball and still went toe-to-toe with [Old Dominion] and had a chance to win two, maybe all three games,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “I guess we’re feeling a little disappointed despite Friday night’s win.”
The first game saw the Bearcats (2-4) drive in all four of their runs in the first five innings. Old Dominion (5-1) was unable to reach home during this time. Those four early runs were more than enough run support for Binghamton’s ace junior pitcher Thomas Babalis, who struck out seven batters in 5.1 innings on Friday and allowed just three hits in his first win of the season. The Bearcat had a shutout through five innings before giving up a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. The game’s scoring ended there as sophomore pitcher Gabe Driscoll subbed in and worked out of a sixth-inning jam by stranding a pair of Old Dominion runners in scoring position. Junior pitcher Jack Collins came into the game and shut out the Monarchs over the final two innings to pick up the save and close out the Bearcats’ only win of the series.
“I think the starting pitching was outstanding,” Sinicki said. “All three guys were very good. [Babalis] on Friday night, [sophomore pitcher John Lumpinski] on Saturday and then [junior pitcher Ryan Bryggman] today. You couldn’t ask for much more out of your starting pitching.”
In the second game, it was Old Dominion that jumped out to an early lead in the first. Binghamton battled back into the game in the sixth inning, stringing together quality at bats including a leadoff single and two full-count walks to score two runs and narrow the Monarch lead to 3-2. However, in the bottom half of the sixth inning, Old Dominion expanded its winning margin to 5-2 and held this lead for the remainder of the game. Freshman infielder Nick Roselli went 3-for-5 on the day with three singles but was unable to reach home once.
In the final game of the series, the scoring didn’t start until the third inning when Binghamton strung together a four-run rally. Junior infielder Cavan Tully got the scoring started with a solo home run with one out to lead off a 4-for-4 batting day. The Bearcats continued to pile on the scoring and expanded their lead in the seventh inning, adding three more runs to make the score 7-1.
“[Tully] had a breakout game,” Sinicki said. “He’s getting an opportunity to play significant innings right now for the first time in his career and he made the most of it today.”
Unlike the previous two games however, the team that took the lead first did not hold on for the win. Old Dominion started a rally of its own in the bottom of the seventh. Four unearned runs after a two-out infield error allowed the Monarchs to narrow their deficit to two runs. While down 7-5 in the eighth inning, they scored a decisive three runs on a walk and three hits, including a two-run home run to take the lead. Binghamton had a chance to extend the game in the ninth, but the Old Dominion pitcher was able to retire the side and close out the series win.
“We let [Old Dominion] off the hook a little bit in the seventh inning,” Sinicki said. “We didn’t make a couple of defensive plays that we needed to … That’s kind of when momentum turned around, and to their credit they kept battling us.”
Despite the loss in the series, the Bearcats recorded more hits than their ranked opponent in all three games. Defense became influential factor in the series as BU recorded seven errors over three games and allowed in five unearned as well.
“Hopefully it gives our players a lot of confidence,” Sinicki said. “But we just have to continue to get better every time we practice and play the game. That’s what our goal is moving forward.”
Binghamton will next take the field on Friday, March 4, where it will begin a three-game series against Virginia Military Institute. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Gray-Minor Stadium in Lexington, Virginia.