With a five-game winning streak on the line, the Binghamton softball team played a nonconference doubleheader at Buffalo on Wednesday. While the Bulls (14-32, 8-9 Mid-American) entered the series with nearly as many losses as the Bearcats (28-12, 10-2 America East) have wins, Buffalo came into the series prepared to put up a fight.
After jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, the Bearcats never looked back. BU maintained its lead throughout five innings, winning game one, 12-4. Binghamton’s dominant performance in the first of two games was spearheaded by senior catcher Lisa Cadogan, who batted 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Other top performers included junior left fielder Gabby Bracchi, who went 2-for-4 and scored two runs and senior first baseman Taylor Chaffee, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
The Bulls were never able to match Binghamton’s offensive attack, finishing the game with nine hits to BU’s 14. Freshman pitcher Makenzie Goluba was credited with the win after striking out four batters over four scoreless innings.
“We were happy [the girls] were able to get on their pitchers right away,” said Binghamton head coach Michelle Burrell. “I think it’s tough for [the opponent’s] pitching staff because our lineup is so deep.”
In game two, the Bulls’ offense came up clutch when they needed it most. Going into the seventh inning, Binghamton led Buffalo, 6-3. The Bearcats managed to tack on two runs in the inning thanks to solo home runs by senior designated hitter Griffin McIver and junior shortstop Crysti Eichner. They entered the bottom of the seventh inning leading, 8-3.
The Bulls chipped away at the lead with three runs on two singles. Then, Buffalo junior right fielder Ashton Earnhardt doubled, scoring two runs to tie the game at eight and send the contest into extra innings.
In the top of the eighth, Eichner hit a sacrifice fly to give the Bearcats a one-run lead. That was followed up by a two-run homer by McIver — her second of the game. Binghamton’s three-run lead proved too much to overcome, as the Bulls went scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to give the Bearcats an 11-8 win and the sweep.
“We seem to be letting up sometimes in the seventh inning,” Burrell said. “We want to make sure going into that seventh inning, no matter if we’re tied, up a run or up by five that we go in and take each batter one at a time.”
McIver lived up to her title as the reigning AE Player of the Week, batting 4-for-6 over two games, with three home runs and five RBIs. She now leads the team and the conference with 12 homers. Eichner was also a major contributor on Wednesday, going 4-for-4 in the second game and tying her career-high four hits in a game. Her final hit, an eighth-inning sacrifice fly, proved to be the game-winning RBI.
With the win, Binghamton extended its winning streak to seven games, outscoring its opponents, 60-27.
The Bearcats are set to face off against conference-leading Albany in a pivotal three-game series this weekend. The series will get underway on Saturday with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 1 p.m. The series will conclude with a single game on Sunday at noon. The games will be played at Albany Field in Albany, New York.