Over the weekend, the Binghamton baseball team squared up against its America East (AE) rival UAlbany at home in a three-game series. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Bearcats rebounded in the series finale, winning 7-1.
”I’m disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to win the series,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “We lost a tough one in game two, but it was a good bounce-back win for our guys, they were able to gut it out.”
In the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, BU (5-17, 2-7 AE) got off to a slow start. The hosts gave up a run in each of the first three innings while being shut out. This changed in the fifth inning when freshman catcher Evin Sullivan led off the inning with a single in a DH role. The next at-bat, sophomore infielder Andrew Tan, hit a home run to left field, immediately followed by another home run from freshman infielder Nick Roselli to tie the game at three apiece. However, these were the Bearcats’ only runs of the game, as the Great Danes (14-10, 4-5 AE) shut them out the rest of the competition and added four more runs in the bottom of the sixth to close Binghamton out 7-3.
“It came down to our defense, we did not play well defensively and we gave them way too many runs,” Sinicki said. “We’re still looking for the right combination.”
The second game of the doubleheader started out as a low-scoring affair for both teams. It wasn’t until the third inning when Albany scored, tallying its first three runs of the game. BU held the Great Danes off until the sixth inning where it allowed one more run, putting the Bearcats in a 4-0 hole.
Binghamton was held scoreless until an eighth-inning rally put the home team on the board. The Great Danes walked two batters, setting up an opportunity for junior catcher Connor Aoki. The Bearcat blasted a three-run homer to cut the deficit to one. The momentum was short-lived, however, as Albany responded in the bottom of the eighth, scoring two insurance runs to make the game 6-3. In the top of the ninth, the Bearcats mounted a comeback when Roselli and junior outfielder Colin Mason got on base. Tan came in to pinch-hit, coming up big with a three-run home run to tie the game. Junior pitcher Jack Collins came into the game for the bottom of the ninth and the first Great Dane up to bat reached on an error. Collins then hit and walked a batter to load the bases, and UAlbany closed out the game with a walk-off single to win 7-6.
“Our defense let us down again, particularly yesterday, and we just gotta clean it up,” Sinicki said.
In the series finale, Binghamton flipped the script and got off to a hot start, scoring two runs in the first inning. After junior infielder Cavan Tully walked as leadoff, Sullivan drove him home off a single, starting off his three-hit day. Sophomore catcher Kevin Reilly added a double to give BU a 2-0 lead. The scoring continued as Sullivan and Roselli both drove in runs to make the game 4-0 in the third. Binghamton added to its total in the seventh with two more Bearcats hitting RBIs. Albany broke the shutout in the bottom of the seventh, but the Bearcats earned their first win at the new stadium, 7-1.
“We put two runs on the board in a couple different innings and then stretched that lead late,” Sinicki said. “This game has always been about, and in my opinion will always be about, pitching and defense, and when we are doing those two things well we are a pretty good team.”
Junior starting pitcher Ryan Bryggman threw his best game of the year, tallying season-bests in hits and strikeouts. The junior threw for five innings, striking out seven and allowing zero runs and only three hits.
“[Bryggman] did a good job pitching today,” Sinicki said. “He mixed, he’s not an overpowering guy by any means, but he’s got a good fastball that sets up his secondary pitches and he kept [Albany’s] lineup off-balanced.”
The Bearcats next take on St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, April 5. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Fred Handler Park at McGraw-Jennings Field in Olean, New York.