The Binghamton softball team hosted Maine on Sunday for a doubleheader in its first series of America East (AE) play. BU was scheduled for a three-game series against the Black Bears, but poor weather conditions forced a two-game showdown. After blowing past the visitors in the first game, the Bearcats rallied from behind in the second contest to end the day with a 2-0 record that left them undefeated in AE conference play.
“We had way too many runners left on the base [in] game two,” said Binghamton head coach Jess Bump. “I think the best thing about it is the more runners we get on early, the more opportunities our lineup’s getting.”
Binghamton (13-7, 2-0 AE) began the pair of games by opening up the scoring in the bottom of the first inning in game one to take an early lead over the Black Bears (7-20, 0-2 AE). Redshirt sophomore utility Brianna Santos hit a groundout that drove in redshirt sophomore utility player Lindsey Walter. BU would score again in the first, as sophomore outfielder Sarah Rende scored off of a Maine error. Binghamton staged four more runs to come in the third inning, when Rende drilled a triple that allowed her to score off of a Black Bear error once again. The Bearcats added three more runs in the inning as their rally poured on into the fourth. A three-run rally in the fourth inning — with Rende contributing once again with an RBI single — propelled BU to a 9-0 lead. Maine managed one run in the fifth, but the Bearcats’ early offense allowed them to run away with a 9-1 victory.
“The first game you want to just come out and play like you can, and then coming off of a win you’ve got to keep that same mindset,” Rende said. “So just keeping that consistent mindset of ‘I’m going to get in, I’m going to do my job, and whatever happens, happens.’”
The Black Bears managed just three hits in the contest. They scored their lone run in the fifth inning, moments before the Bearcats would end the game by the mercy rule, winning 9-1. Freshman pitcher Brianna Roberts pitched all five innings and finished the game with six strikeouts. Rende recorded a hit in each of her three at-bats, ultimately crossing the plate for three runs. Senior infielder Alex Musial had a standout game as well, recording hits on both of her at-bats, scoring a run and ending the game with two RBIs.
Game two was a much tighter contest, with the Bearcats and Black Bears going back and forth in a much more low-scoring affair compared to their first matchup. Both teams notched two runs in the first inning, but the Black Bears would then go on to score again in the fourth to take the lead 3-2. However, the Bearcats responded in the sixth after freshman utility Kaylin Curro scored on a fielder’s choice to tie the score at three. In the bottom of the seventh, Rende finally broke through the stalemate, driving the ball just beyond the outstretched glove of the Maine centerfielder deep into the outfield and winning the game for the Bearcats in walk-off fashion 4-3.
Weltner was awarded the win in the contest, throwing for 3.1 innings of relief, giving up zero earned runs and just one hit.
“When I pitch, I rely on my defense behind me, and I trust them,” Walter said. “So as long as I’m doing my job, I know they’re going to do their job behind me.”
The game ended with a 4-3 score, securing BU’s series win and claiming a four-game win streak heading into Cornell on Tuesday.
“We’re not going to treat Cornell any different than conference play,” Bump said. “We’re going to use it to prepare for UMBC … really focusing in on getting those clutch hits and not making moments more than they have to be.”
Binghamton will hit the road for its next game against Cornell on Tuesday, March 28. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Niemand-Robison Field in Ithaca, New York.