There was no shortage of suspense for the Binghamton baseball team in its doubleheader against St. Bonaventure on Tuesday. Both games of the series were scheduled to be played as shortened seven inning games, but the Bearcats rallied from behind in both contests to force extras.
In the bottom of the eighth in second matchup of the day, with the game-winning run waiting on third, redshirt junior catcher Nick Pancerella delivered.
With an RBI-single down the left field line, Pancerella batted in freshman infielder Paul Rufo to end the game, 4-3, and allow the Bearcats (16-16-1, 6-8 America East) to sweep the Bonnies (14-20-2, 2-13 Atlantic 10) at home.
The Bonnies struck first in the nightcap, when senior catcher Dylan Dunn blasted a two-run shot over the center field fence. On the mound, St. Bonaventure’s starting pitcher — freshman Aaron Phillips — held the Bearcats scoreless until the fifth, when BU ignited a comeback by scoring in each of the next four innings.
After junior infielder Reed Gamache knocked in his third run of the doubleheader, sophomore catcher Eddie Posavec reached first on a walk in the sixth before freshman infielder CJ Krowiak tripled to bring Posavec in and make the tally 3-2.
Attempting to keep Phillips on the mound for a complete game, the Bonnies were struck by fatigue in the bottom of the seventh. A wild pitch to the backstop was enough to tie the game at three and force extra innings for the second time.
After a scoreless top of the eighth, BU wasted no time in the bottom of the frame. Rufo reached first and advanced to second on a throwing error. A passed ball advanced Rufo to third before Pancerella lined the game winning hit to give the Bearcats the win, 4-3.
The bottom of the Bearcat lineup, namely Rufo and Pancerella, played a major role in securing Binghamton’s victory.
“You win it with the bottom of your order,” BU head coach Tim Sinicki said. “We need contributions from everybody, one through nine, and it’s great to see the job get done.”
In the first meeting between the two, St. Bonaventure also struck quickly, driving in a run in the top of the first. Responding just as quickly, BU plated a run of its own in the bottom of the inning, courtesy of an RBI double from Gamache.
After a run by the Bonnies in the second, Gamache struck again in the fourth, belting a solo home run to tie the matchup at two a piece. Throughout the series, the junior hit at a .500 clip, going 4-for-8 at the plate.
“He came up with some clutch hits today for us, drove in some runs and made some really good plays on defense,” Sinicki said of Gamache. “So he’s a guy we rely on and a guy that, when he’s playing well, makes us go.”
Down, 3-2, going into the bottom of the seventh, Posavec produced a double and scored off of a double by freshman catcher Jason Agresti to force the game into extras. Following a scoreless eighth, junior third baseman David Schanz singled, scoring freshman outfielder Chris McGee to secure BU’s first win of the day, 4-3.
The Bearcats are set to return to America East action this weekend with a three-game home series against UMBC. First pitch is scheduled for noon on Saturday with a second game following shortly after. The series is slated to conclude Sunday at 1 p.m. All games will take place at the Baseball Complex in Vestal, New York.