With one out and runners on second and third in a tie ballgame, the Binghamton baseball team appeared poised to win in walk-off fashion against St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies (22-16, 12-6 Atlantic 10) had to pick their poison between two of the Bearcats’ hottest hitters: senior first baseman Brendan Skidmore and freshman second baseman Justin Drpich. After intentionally walking Skidmore, St. Bonaventure put its fate in the hands of the freshman. The result mirrored that of a veteran: Drpich remained composed and launched an opposite-field grand slam to right field, propelling the Bearcats (23-9, 9-2 America East) to a 10-6 victory over visiting St. Bonaventure.
“I was just trying to come out and get something up in the zone,” Drpich said. “Get a good swing on it, hit a fly ball and just do the job and be a team player.”
The Bearcats sent sophomore pitcher Robert Brown to the mound for a spot start. He excelled again in a starter’s role, surrendering only one hit in four innings of work. Complementing his work was the BU offense, as Binghamton held a 2-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Once the Bearcats turned to their bullpen, they could not maintain an advantage in the runs column with the Bonnies tying the score at 3 in the seventh off a home run from junior third baseman David Hollins. Binghamton responded in immediate fashion: senior right fielder Eddie Posavec singled and junior catcher Jason Agresti doubled down the left field line to drive in Posavec for a 4-3 lead. The hit was one of three of the day for Agresti, who continued to deliver in clutch situations.
“Down the stretch, your best players have to be your best players,” said BU head coach Tim Sinicki. “[Agresti] is a guy we count on offensively and to drive in runs and he did exactly that today.”
Skidmore increased his team-leading RBI total by sending a ball off the wall to deep center that scored Agresti. Skidmore was credited with a double on the play, but two St. Bonaventure errors eventually allowed him to score as well.
Binghamton took a 6-3 lead heading into the eighth, but it soon evaporated again. Junior pitcher Jake Erhard entered for tune-up work, but had a rough appearance. Facing only six batters, Erhard allowed four hits and three runs, which tied the score at six. To prevent more damage, Sinicki brought in senior reliever Nicholas Liegi. Despite escaping the jam in the eighth, the ninth inning was tricky. A double with one out put the Bonnies in prime position to break the tie, but Liegi proved clutch, notching a strikeout and groundout back-to-back. The stage was set for another Binghamton walk-off victory.
The ninth-inning lineup featured the Bearcats’ 2-3-4 hitters. Posavec led off with a single to create pressure and get the offense going. St. Bonaventure wanted no part in redshirt sophomore third baseman Justin Yurchak, intentionally walking him to face the clean-up hitter Agresti. Sinicki opted for Agresti to bunt, executing a perfect sacrifice to advance the runners into scoring position with one out. After the Skidmore walk, Drpich delivered his first career grand slam — and walk-off home run — in style, and BU collected its second consecutive walk-off win.
“We’re starting to feel really good as a team and I am excited to see what the future holds,” Drpich said.
The Bearcats are now 15-3 when scoring the first run and 17-1 when leading after six innings. The team will look to increase its AE lead when it faces UMass Lowell on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for noon from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.