The Binghamton baseball team had a promising postseason ahead of it as players stepped up to the plate on Thursday at Edward A. LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts for its 2017 America East (AE) Tournament debut against Albany. Despite high expectations, the Bearcats (30-13, 15-4 AE) witnessed their hopes for a second consecutive conference title be dashed as they fell to Maine in their second game of the tournament two days later.
“We’re pretty disappointed,” said BU head coach Tim Sinicki. “We feel like we waited until the end of the year to play perhaps our two worst games of the season, and unfortunately, in a double-elimination tournament, that’s all it takes, and the next thing you know you’re on a bus headed home and your season is over.”
In Thursday afternoon’s game, the Great Danes (26-26, 10-13 AE) pulled ahead early, capturing three runs in the top of the third against sophomore pitcher Nick Gallagher, who was recently titled AE Pitcher of the Year.
Binghamton failed to put any runs on the board up until the fifth inning. With two players on base, senior first baseman Eddie Posavec logged an RBI double to bring home freshman infielder Greg Satriale and to advance junior outfielder CJ Krowiak to third. Following Posavec’s hit, three consecutive walks brought two more runners home, trimming Albany’s advantage to 4-3.
The Great Danes, however, were able to expand their lead to 7-3, scoring one run in the sixth, eighth and ninth innings off of three two-out RBI hits. Binghamton was held at three runs for the remainder of the game, allowing Albany to secure the victory.
On Saturday, the Bearcats faced off against Maine (25-29, 8-12 AE), and again allowed their opponent to take an early lead.
“In this tournament, we got behind early twice and we got close on both occasions and we had opportunities to tie the game and maybe go ahead, and we never did,” Sinicki said.
Capitalizing on two Binghamton errors, a walk and a hit to their advantage, the Black Bears were able to pull ahead by three runs in the first inning. BU was not able to respond offensively until the third inning, placing a single run on the board when junior outfielder Pat Britt hit a single RBI to bring Posavec home.
In the bottom of the fifth, Binghamton sought to close the gap, scoring an additional two runs. Junior catcher Jason Agresti and freshman infielder Justin Drpich both hit sacrifice flies to bring in runners on base.
However, Binghamton failed to record any more runs, and Maine eventually widened its lead when the team tacked on an additional four runs in the ninth inning and claimed victory, 8-3.
The two contests marked the first time since 2011 that the Bearcats have gone 0-2 in the AE Tournament.
“I know everyone is disappointed in our program, but the reality of the situation is we won 30 games over the course of the regular season, and that in and of itself is a great accomplishment,” Sinicki said. “It’s the most wins we’ve ever had in a regular season and highest winning percentage we’ve ever had.”
Despite an underwhelming conclusion to BU’s immensely successful 2017 season, Sinicki is hopeful for another outstanding campaign in 2018.
“We’ve got a lot of guys returning, we’ve got a real strong recruiting class coming in, so I think that we’re going to be in good shape next year as well,” Sinicki said.
The Bearcats’ losses on Thursday and Saturday ended their chances for the 2017 AE Tournament title and ended their season as well. The team will return next spring for its 2018 season without senior outfielder Darian Herncane, senior catcher Henry Pellicciotti, senior first baseman Brendan Skidmore, redshirt senior Jake Cryts, senior pitcher Nicholas Liegi and Posavec.