After waiting three weeks to get back on the field due to inclement weather, the Binghamton baseball team finally returned to action on Saturday. The Bearcats (8-4, 1-1 America East) opened AE play with a doubleheader split against UMass Lowell (10-8, 1-1 AE), taking the first, 1-0, before dropping the final game, 5-2.
BU could not dodge poor weather this weekend, however, as the third game of the series being canceled. The prolonged time between games hindered the Bearcats offensively; they tallied only five hits in the two games.
“It’s just not baseball weather, but at the same time you’ve got to battle through it,” said BU head coach Tim Sinicki.
In the opener, pitching determined the outcome of the game. Sophomore pitcher Nick Gallagher started and turned in a dominant 5 2/3 innings on the hill, surrendering only one hit while striking out seven. In relief, junior pitcher Joe Orlando continued his strong start to the season. The Endicott native tossed the remaining 3.1 innings, limiting the River Hawks to two hits to earn the victory. Most notably, Orlando did not allow an earned run for the fourth time this season, keeping his ERA at a perfect 0.00. The two combined for the Bearcats’ second shutout of the season and extended the team’s winning streak to eight games.
With the game on the verge of heading to extra innings, a single swing changed the dynamic of the game when junior second baseman Luke Tevlin stroked a two-out, solo home run to left field, giving the Bearcats a 1-0 lead. The team’s second and final hit of the game propelled BU to an opening-game win.
“Both Gallagher and Orlando were outstanding for us,” Sinicki said. “Finally, Tevlin got a pitch that he drove over the left field fence. I really didn’t think anybody would hit one out the way the wind was blowing, but … we’re fortunate that it got up and out.”
The nightcap featured a traditional seven-inning game. Junior pitcher Nick Wegmann started the game for the Bearcats and provided five solid innings of work. Despite cruising through the first four, Wegmann allowed a run in the fifth that set the stage for UMass Lowell to break the game open. A leadoff double followed by a two-out RBI single to center to give UMass a 1-0 edge. The ensuing inning dug a hole too deep for the Bearcats to overcome. After Wegmann left the mound, seven straight batters reached base, which resulted in four runs to increase the River Hawks’ lead to 5-0. In the top of the seventh, the Bearcats rallied, knocking in two runs, but ultimately fell short. The Bearcats’ defeat ended their eight-game winning streak.
“After Wegmann came out, the mound was pretty beat up,” Sinicki said. “We tried to get it fixed but we just couldn’t get it done … I think that the conditions yesterday hurt us a little bit.”
Binghamton recorded only three hits in the finale, a struggle that will require a quick turnaround. The Bearcats are set to take the field next against Penn State in a Tuesday night contest. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. from Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in University Park, Pennsylvania.