The Binghamton baseball team showcased its depth on Tuesday, using several reserves and nearly its entire bullpen in a 3-1 victory against Marist. The win extended the Bearcats’ streak to four, putting them 10 games over .500 for the first time since 2010.
Using eight pitchers, the Bearcats (17-7, 6-2 America East) stifled the Red Foxes’ (17-15, 7-5 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) offense repeatedly while providing valuable playing time to the team’s younger players. After a weekend of starters pitching deep into games and limiting opportunities for relief pitchers, Binghamton flipped its strategy against a nonconference opponent.
“It’s important to get everybody on the mound,” said BU head coach Tim Sinicki. “I like to get everyone in there for [one or two] innings … and what we did with eight different pitchers today was a pretty good effort.”
Against Marist, the Bearcats’ offense produced just enough runs to earn the win. In the bottom of the first, Binghamton jumped out to an early lead after junior shortstop Paul Rufo scored off of a Marist error. In the bottom of the fifth, back-to-back doubles by sophomore third baseman Matt Tsukroff and sophomore right fielder Anthony Meduri extended Binghamton’s lead to three.
Binghamton gave up chance after chance to build a more sizable lead, leaving a total of 14 runners on base.
“You can’t take fastballs in those situations, and we took way too many fastballs,” Sinicki said. “We have to do a better job with our approach when it comes down to [having] runners on third base with less than two outs. We just didn’t execute that very well.”
Despite the offense failing to capitalize on its opportunities, the Bearcats’ collective pitching performance handed the team a manageable lead throughout the game. Five relievers took a shutout into the seventh inning, when freshman pitcher Justin Drpich got himself into a jam.
With runners on first and third, senior pitcher Nicholas Liegi was called upon to preserve the lead. After allowing an RBI single, Liegi got through the inning to keep Binghamton ahead. Junior pitcher Dylan Stock came in the following inning to close out the game. He breezed through the Red Foxes’ lineup, tallying two strikeouts in a perfect inning as he recorded his third save.
While Binghamton did not play at its best, it received key contributions from unlikely names. Tsukroff finished the day batting 1-for-4, adding one RBI and a run scored in only his third start of the year. Meduri batted 2-for-4 with one RBI in his first career start.
“Today I decided to play a handful of reserves and see what they can do,” Sinicki said. “I don’t think we played as hard as we’re capable of playing, or as hard as we played on the weekend, but without the regulars, I was happy to get a win.”
The Bearcats are set to resume AE play this weekend in a two-game series against Maine. First pitch is scheduled for noon on Saturday from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.