In its second home outing of 2014-15, the Binghamton baseball team narrowly lost a series with Albany this weekend, 2-1.
Binghamton (12-15-1, 6-8 America East) dropped its opener, 11-9, on Saturday before rallying to capture the nightcap, 7-4. Despite leading Sunday’s finale, heading into the ninth inning with a one-run advantage, 6-5, four late Albany runs and two Binghamton men stranded ended the rubber match with a decisive 9-6 victory for the Great Danes (11-14, 5-3 AE).
Though the results bear in Albany’s favor, the teams were nearly evenly matched in hits. Albany held just a slight advantage through the series, at 39-35.
Junior pitcher Mike Bunal earned his fourth win of the season in his seven innings Saturday evening. He allowed four runs on eight hits.
Also finding success for the Bearcats were senior outfielders Zach Blanden and Jake Thomas. The two continued their impressive seasons through the series, with Blanden recording three RBIs over the three games and Thomas going 3-for-6 in the opener and notching an RBI in the nightcap on Saturday.
Those two lead the conference in multiple categories, with Blanden’s .379 batting average ranking first and Thomas’ .371 clip taking third. Blanden also claims first in slugging percentage (.602), on-base percentage (.484) and runs scored (28). Thomas, on the other hand, is second in on-base percentage (.481), third in slugging percentage (.552) and fourth in runs scored (26).
Binghamton opened scoring in the bottom of the second, with freshman catcher Jason Agresti driving in sophomore infielder Brendan Skidmore for a run. Albany scored one in the fifth to even the score before Binghamton drove in three in the bottom of the inning. Two scored off Albany pitching errors while Skidmore earned an RBI of his own in plating junior infielder David Schanz, increasing the team’s lead to 4-1.
Binghamton added another three in the next inning, with Blanden, Schanz and Thomas earning one RBI apiece in driving in Agresti, freshman infielder Paul Rufo and Blanden, respectively. By the bottom of the sixth, the score was 7-1, which proved too great for an Albany comeback. The Great Danes scored three in the bottom of the seventh, but Bunal struck out the last batter to strand one and prevent further damage.
The Bearcats got a hot start in the opener as well, carrying an 8-0 lead into the top of the sixth after scoring three in the fourth and five in the fifth. Agresti, sophomore catcher Eddie Posavec, Skidmore and junior infielder Reed Gamache each had two RBIs, with Posavec and Gamache additionally going 3-for-5.
But Albany quickly requited, plating eight of their own to enter the ninth inning with an 8-8 tie. In extra innings, Albany prevailed. The Great Danes scored three in the 10th while BU could only muster one, handing the visitors an 11-9 victory.
In the rubber match on Sunday, Binghamton again opened scoring only to find Albany come up big in clutch moments. BU scored two in the second inning before Albany plated four between the fourth and fifth. The Bearcats then answered with one of their own in the fifth and produced a big, three-run eighth inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Skidmore homered to centerfield for a run and Posavec and freshman infielder CJ Krowiak scored to instate a narrow 6-5 lead heading into the ninth, but Albany produced yet again. The Great Danes scored four runs on four hits in their half of the inning, stealing the lead, 9-6. For the Great Danes, redshirt senior right-hander Joey Moore prevented any Bearcat comeback, stranding two to preserve the win.
Next up for Binghamton is a midweek non-conference matchup with upstate-rival Cornell. The Big Red are scheduled to take the Baseball Complex field against the Bearcats at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Vestal, New York.