The Binghamton University softball team returned to dominance on Thursday afternoon against Cornell, sweeping both legs of a doubleheader against the Big Red, 10-0 and 6-5. Senior designated player Griffin McIver led the BU offense, going for 5-for-7 and recording a home run and five RBIs.
In the first contest between the Bearcats (22-12, 10-2 America East) and the Big Red (8-23, 3-11 Ivy League), BU shut out Cornell while engaging in an offensive onslaught that led to a mercy-rule victory after just five innings of play. The Binghamton offense, which leads the AE with a .334 batting average, once again proved powerful, recording nine hits. Eight Binghamton players have batting averages over .300, the most of any team in the conference.
“I think they trusted each other and came through in big, clutch situations which is something we’ve been looking for,” said BU head coach Michelle Burrell.
With Binghamton ahead, 4-0, in the bottom of the fourth, McIver lined a two-run single to right field, scoring junior outfielder Bridget Hunt and sophomore outfielder Jessica Rutherford.
McIver made another trip to the plate as the Bearcats batted around. This time, she doubled to left center to score junior shortstop Crysti Eichner and give BU a 10-0 advantage. Also impressing offensively were Rutherford and junior outfielder Gabby Bracchi, both of whom went 2-for-2, and senior right fielder Sydney Harbaugh, who went 2-for-3.
On the mound, the Bearcats used a combination of experience and youth. Senior pitcher Cara Martin tossed three scoreless innings before handing the ball over to freshman Allison Pritchard, who completed the shutout with a scoreless inning of her own.
“Allie came in; she had really good composure, she had command of her pitches and she did really well with the first strikeout and then from there on,” Martin said.
The second game of the doubleheader was much more closely contested, as Binghamton never led by more than three runs.
After scoring three in the bottom of the sixth to go up, 5-2, the Bearcats watched their advantage disappear when Cornell plated three runs of its own in the top of the seventh.
Entering its half of the inning tied, 5-5, Binghamton once again used its offensive prowess to secure the win. Senior catcher Taylor Chaffee led off with a double before her pinch runner,
sophomore infielder Jillian Bovitt, swiped third on a wild pitch. It was McIver once again who made the difference, belting a pitch off the left field wall to score Bovitt and give the Bearcats a walk-off win.
“We just had runners in scoring position and she gave me my pitch and I just took it,” McIver said. “I think just staying loose and truly trusting in one another [is why we won]. We just did BU softball; we got the runs in and scored.”
The Binghamton defense used three pitchers in the victory. Freshman Makenzie Goluba picked up the win in two innings of relief, improving her record to 4-0 on the season. Pritchard and sophomore Sarah Miller contributed two and three innings, respectively.
“[Our pitchers] stayed really composed when we had runners on base and just did a really good job tonight,” Burrell said.
Binghamton is set to host conference rival Stony Brook this weekend for a three-game series. First pitches of Saturday’s doubleheader are scheduled for noon and 2 p.m. while Sunday’s game is set to start at noon. All games will be played at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.