The Binghamton softball team traveled to Ithaca to face in-state rival Cornell for a nonconference matchup on Tuesday. After plating two runs in the first inning, the Bearcats were in a pitcher’s duel with the Big Red. The hosts managed to tie the game, however, sending it into extra innings — where BU escaped with a narrow 3-2 victory after eight innings.
“I think we’ve been preparing the right way,” said Binghamton head coach Jess Bump. “We were losing these [close] games earlier on in the season, and now we’re winning them. So I think it just goes to show all of the hard work the girls have been putting in.”
Binghamton (14-7, 2-0 America East [AE]) wasted no time getting started on offense, as sophomore outfielder Laney Harbaugh led off the game with a single. Redshirt sophomore utility Lindsey Walter followed that up with a hit of her own to put two runners on base. The next at-bat, redshirt sophomore outfielder Brianna Santos, singled into left field to bring Harbaugh in for the first run of the ball game. Later in the inning, graduate student infielder Alli Richmond hit a single up the middle to give the Bearcats a 2-0 lead over the Big Red (8-9, 2-1 Ivy League).
“Our bats were really good all day,” Bump said. “It’s probably the hardest we’ve hit the ball in the last week, so just keep working to get barrels … Obviously we want to be scoring a little bit more throughout the game after scoring in the first inning, but we always just talk about trying to find a way, and we did that today.”
After the first inning, the offense stalled for both sides as neither team was able to score a run. However, in the bottom of the fifth inning, Cornell got on the board with a hit that brought in a run to make it a 2-1 game. With two runners on base and one out, the hosts looked to tie or take the lead. Despite this opportunity, the Bearcats found a way to get out of the jam as they completed a double play with a close out at-home plate.
“I don’t think anyone has been getting frazzled,” Walter said. “I think under pressure we just stay locked in. We’re more focused.”
Freshman pitcher Brianna Roberts got the start on the mound as she pitched 4.1 innings and only gave up one run. Entering the final two innings, the visitors held a one-run lead over the Big Red. In the top of the sixth, BU loaded the bases with only one out. The Bearcats could not bring in any runs, however, as a flyout to left field led to a double play at the plate. In the bottom of the inning, the hosts took advantage of their opportunity as a solo home run tied the game at 2-2.
In the top of the eighth inning, AE player of the week sophomore outfielder Sarah Rende slapped in a single, but managed to reach second due to an error. Two batters later, junior catcher Hailey Ehlers brought Rende home with an RBI double that proved to be the winning run. Binghamton blanked Cornell in the bottom of the frame with Walter on the mound, earning the 3-2 victory and the team’s fifth consecutive win.
“Coming up to bat I knew that I had to get a job done,” Ehlers said. “I knew I wanted to get a hit for my team. [Rende] did a great job getting on, taking that extra base. And I knew, going up [to bat] I just needed to stay composed and get a hit.”
BU will make the trip to face defending AE champions UMBC for a three-game series starting on Saturday, April 1. First pitch of game one is scheduled for noon at the Diamond at UMBC in Baltimore, Maryland.