The Binghamton University baseball team extended its history of dominance over University of Maryland, Baltimore County this weekend in an impressive display of power both on the mound and at the plate. Binghamton (20-20, 12-4 AE) swept the three-game home series over the Retrievers (7-33, 0-16 AE) en route to clinching its fifth straight America East tournament berth.
With the sweep, BU improved its all-time AE record against UMBC to 28-3 and evened out its overall record this year to a balanced 20-20. The last-place Retrievers have yet to win a conference game this season.
In Game 1 of the series-opening doubleheader on Saturday, a five-run second inning propelled the Bearcats to victory. After finding themselves trailing the Retrievers by a run after the first half of the second frame, the Bearcats collected six hits and five RBI to jump ahead 6-2. Senior designated hitter Jeff Skelhorne-Gross led off with a single to center field to ignite the rally, which was highlighted by a two-run double from senior right fielder Peter Bregartner.
In their final trip to the plate, the Retrievers threatened to stage a comeback. After Binghamton allowed the first UMBC batter to reach base on an error and advance to third on a double, the Retrievers plated two runs on a two-out single to left field.
Binghamton reliever senior Zach Juliano was called in to close out the game, but the first batter he faced reached base when BU committed its second error of the inning, which put the tying run on first for UMBC. The Retrievers could not complete the comeback, however, as Juliano put away the next batter with a pop-out to first base, and the Bearcats took the opener 7-5.
Senior starter James Giulietti recorded his fourth win of the year, surrendering three earned runs on 10 hits over 6.2 innings. The southpaw struck out eight in the victory.
Senior left fielder Corey Taylor led the Bearcat lineup, going 3-for-3 at the plate with a triple and two RBI.
In the nightcap, a record-breaking performance from junior starter Mike Augliera shut down the Retrievers and nailed down the Bearcats’ second win of the day, 9-0.
Augliera took a no-hitter into the seventh inning before a sinking live drive to center evaded the glove of diving center fielder freshman Bill Bereszniewicz. The Retrievers added one more hit before Augliera closed out the complete-game two-hit shutout for his sixth win of the year.
Augliera struck out 15 hitters to set the record for most strikeouts by a Binghamton pitcher during the team’s Division I era. The performance surpassed the previous mark of 14 strikeouts held by former AE Pitcher of the Year Zach Groh in 2007.
“[Augliera] was outstanding, he really was,” BU head coach Tim Sinicki said. “He did a great job of commanding all of his pitches. He got ahead of hitters; he really controlled the entire game and it was probably the best performance I’ve seen him have since … last year’s America East tournament.”
Augliera, who did not walk a batter, had his perfect game bid snapped by a Binghamton error in the third. He now boasts a 1.38 ERA in conference games this season. Augliera garnered a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week nomination for his performance, in addition to being named the America East Pitcher of the Week.
The BU offense provided Augliera with more than he would need to garner the win. Propelled by Bregartner’s 3-for-4 performance, which included a pair of RBI and two runs scored, the Bearcats combined for 14 hits and nine runs. Sophomore shortstop Jordon Smucker led the team with three RBI.
On Sunday, Bregartner led the still-sizzling BU bats as the Bearcats captured their third win of the weekend, 8-2. His two home runs provided the Bearcats with a game-high five RBI and accounted for more than half of BU’s run production on the day.
Binghamton sophomore starting pitcher Jay Lynch went seven innings without allowing an earned run, though two unearned runs came across in the sixth. Lynch walked none and struck out three en route to his fifth win of the year.
Bregartner, who went 7-for-11 with five extra-base hits and nine RBI over the weekend, is now leading the team offensively in conference play with a .488 batting average and 12 RBI. He was named AE Player of the Week for his performance.
“Pete’s been steady the whole way,” Sinicki said. “I mean, the offensive numbers kind of speak for themselves, but the one thing that you don’t see statistically is Pete has been unreal in right field; he’s been just tremendous out there. He’s played that position as well as anyone I’ve had in my 19 years here. He’s just done a great job anchoring that position. You take that fact combined with the offensive numbers he’s put up, he’s been in an impressive run for us the past couple months.”
With the sweep of UMBC, BU retained its position in second place in the AE conference standings. The Bearcats are preparing for a rematch against first-place Stony Brook at home scheduled for next weekend.
Binghamton is set to open the three-game series against the Seawolves at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Varsity Field. The series is scheduled to conclude with a doubleheader on Sunday, with the opening game slated to begin at noon.