The Binghamton softball team spent the weekend on Long Island in Stony Brook, New York to finish off its regular season of play. The Bearcats (21-23, 11-4 America East) were swept in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon against Stony Brook. After BU clinched the No. 1 seed in the AE Tournament the week prior, these two final regular-season matchups held little value for postseason play. This is Binghamton’s second consecutive regular-season softball championship win, and the third time they will host the AE Tournament in the past five years.
“We’re excited about it,” said BU head coach Michelle Johnston. “We really like the support we get from the community. After hosting last year, we’ve felt the pressure of what it’s like to host, and are more comfortable this season,”
In its first game, Binghamton put together a strong defensive effort, limiting Stony Brook to two runs in six innings. A meager offensive performance failed to match the defense’s contributions, being shut out for five innings before junior third baseman Kate Richard belted a solo home run in the sixth. In the seventh inning, the Bearcats failed to score another run, and took a 2-1 loss to the Seawolves (16-27, 9-7 AE). Freshman pitcher Rayn Gibson was tagged with the loss in a complete game effort and is now 8-6 on the season.
“We had a tough time stringing hits together,” Johnston said. “We hit some balls hard sometimes that were right at them. We have to work early, as opposed to trying to put runs across the board late in the game.”
In the following match, the Bearcats jumped on the board early, taking a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice by senior outfielder Gabby Bracchi. The Seawolves responded well, taking a 2-1 lead in the third inning and never looking back. SBU eventually extended its lead to three after six innings, and its offensive push was too much for the Bearcats to mediate. The second game ended with a 4-1 Stony Brook victory, and senior pitcher Shelby Donhauser was credited with the loss for Binghamton.
For seniors Bracchi, Donhauser, infielder Crysti Eichner, infielder Kim Santiago and outfielder Bridget Hunt, this weekend marked their last regular-season appearance as Bearcats. When they graduate this month, the team will look to fill in gaps on both offense and defense.
“We’re definitely going to have to make sure we have some players coming in, to fill what some of the seniors are going to leave behind,” Johnston said. “We’re excited about the newest freshman class and what they have to offer, but we also have some others committed in years behind them that we think are going to help us continue in the direction that we’re headed.”
The Bearcats are slotted to host the conference tournament beginning on Wednesday. As the No. 1 seed, Binghamton will receive a first-round bye and face the winner of No. 4 Albany and No. 5 UMBC. Their game is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Thursday at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.