Over the weekend, the Binghamton baseball team showcased the brand new Bearcats Baseball Complex for the first time this year to start America East (AE) play. However, the Bearcats were unable to come away with a win during the three-game series. It had been seven years since the Bearcats were last swept by a conference opponent.
“It was not an acceptable weekend,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “We did not do a lot of things really well, and we can’t be successful unless we get better in all areas.”
Although the Bearcats (3-13, 0-3 AE) were unable to down the Black Bears (6-11, 3-0 AE), Binghamton debuted its new, long-awaited baseball stadium which drew a crowd of 1,138 fans on Friday. Its construction was made possible thanks to a generous $60 million anonymous donation. The 84,000-square-foot facility includes a new indoor training facility and clubhouse for the team to use.
“That certainly was the highlight of the weekend,” Sinicki said. “It was great to see the people come out. The stadium, although it’s not completed at this point, looks great and it’s gonna be magnificent when it’s all set and done.”
Junior pitcher Thomas Babalis threw the first pitch in the new stadium for BU. Babalis pitched four innings, giving up eight earned runs to the Black Bears during that span. Despite falling behind 10-0 in the first five innings, the Bearcats’ bats came alive thanks to a two-run homer from junior catcher Connor Aoki. The junior finished the game with two hits and four RBIs. Binghamton built off of this offensive success in the bottom of the ninth inning scoring four runs, but the deficit was too steep to climb and BU lost 11-7.
“Starting pitching wasn’t good this past weekend,” Sinicki said. “You’re not gonna have your good stuff all the time. I just don’t think [Babalis] and [junior pitcher Ryan Bryggman] were sharp this weekend.”
Game two was a slugfest for Maine. The Bearcats kept it close for the first three innings, but the Black Bears went on a four-run rally in the fourth inning to take control of the contest. Sophomore pitcher John Lumpinski started game two, but pitched only three innings, giving up seven earned runs in the process. He has still yet to record his first win this season. Three other BU pitchers came in to relieve Lumpinski and gave up a combined 11 runs. The Black Bears capitalized on Binghamton’s pitching woes, scoring nine runs between the sixth and seventh innings to put the game out of reach to win 19-9.
“On the defensive side of things, we have to continue to clean things up there,” Sinicki said. “We continue to dig ourselves holes in the game early on, and we’re just fighting uphill for the next two and a half hours and that’s a very difficult way to try to win a ball game.”
The final game of the series followed a similar flow to the previous two games. Bryggman got the start on the mound but gave up seven runs on seven hits in just four innings. This put the Bearcats in a hole that they were unable to climb out of. Despite the poor start, sophomore pitcher Justin Rosner and junior pitcher Jack Collins combined to throw five scoreless innings as relievers. Rosner struck out six batters in three innings while Collins struck out three batters in two innings. BU had no runs in the contest until the sixth inning when junior infielder Cavan Tully drew a walk with the bases loaded to score one run. This was the only run of the game for the home side as they lost 7-1.
“Today [Rosner] and [Collins] were outstanding,” Sinicki said. “I thought some of the work out of the bullpen was really good this weekend, so we’ll need those guys to continue to do their thing as the season goes on.”
This series marked both sides’ start to AE competition. The Bearcats ranked third in preseason coaches’ poll, earning one first-place vote.
“After 13 games I have more questions than answers about who we are and what we’re gonna be, and I don’t think there’s anything we did this weekend that helped me find any of those answers,” Sinicki said. “It’s kind of back to the drawing board for me and my staff and our personnel, and it’s back to practice on Tuesday for the guys to try and get better.”
BU returns to action against UMass Lowell on Friday, March 25. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. at Edward A. LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts.