The Binghamton softball team took down America East (AE) rival Stony Brook, whom it defeated to win the conference title last season, in a three-game series sweep this weekend.
The series kicked off on Saturday afternoon with a 12-3 win for the Bearcats (26-12, 10-2 AE) under the command of senior pitcher Cara Martin, who allowed three earned runs through five innings in the mercy-rule victory.
The Seawolves (21-21, 9-5 AE) struggled to contain the offensive onslaught, which was led by senior designated player Griffin McIver and senior outfielder Sydney Harbaugh. McIver went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, slugging her ninth home run of the season in the process. Harbaugh contributed two RBIs off two hits while sophomore second baseman Stephanie Bielec and senior catcher Taylor Chaffee each added two hits to the mix.
“We did a very good job of staying composed in every situation the whole weekend,” Martin said. “We started off strong in the first game. [In] the second game we struggled a little bit, but we came back.”
The Bearcats demonstrated their ability to bounce back in the nightcap of the doubleheader. With BU trailing, 5-4, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Harbaugh came to the plate for BU with runners on first and third. A pop fly from Harbaugh into left field appeared to be a game-ending out for BU. However, the ball was misplayed by Stony Brook, allowing both runners to score and for BU to win in walk-off fashion.
Junior outfielder Gabby Bracchi recorded two runs and an RBI while drawing two walks. Sophomore outfielder Jessica Rutherford went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Freshman pitcher Makenzie Goluba, who came in on relief in the seventh inning, recorded the win and improved her record to 5-0.
In Sunday’s game, it was sophomore third baseman Kate Richard who made the difference, roping a two-run double down the left field line in the bottom of the fourth inning that gave the Bearcats a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Rutherford extended BU’s advantage to 3-0 on a sacrifice fly that scored Bracchi, who had advanced to third on a passed ball. The three-run lead was enough to ensure Binghamton’s victory.
“We feed very well off of each other,” Richard said. “That’s how we’ve been [winning].”
The Seawolves refused to go down easily, however, mounting a rally in the top of the seventh inning. SBU catcher Alexandra Pisciotta homered to cut the deficit to 3-1. An infield single from freshman infielder Irene Rivera kept Stony Brook’s comeback hopes alive, but sophomore pitcher Sarah Miller suppressed SBU’s efforts and captured the save for Binghamton.
“I thought they did a good job in finishing that out,” said BU head coach Michelle Burrell. “Kate [Richard] came up with a clutch hit there to score the two runs early. Cara [Martin] did a good job of getting us out of some tough situations early on in the game.”
The Bearcats’ success this weekend was due not just to their offensive prowess, which has been a hallmark of their play all season, but an impressive performance from their pitching rotation. BU hit .432 during the series while recording a 2.58 ERA.
Binghamton is set to take on Buffalo in a non-conference doubleheader this Wednesday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. from Nan Harvey Field in Buffalo, New York.