The Binghamton baseball team traveled to Cornell on Tuesday afternoon, and neither team ended the game in the win column. The Bearcats (9-15-1, 4-4 America East) overcame a 4-0 deficit to tie the Big Red, 5-5. The umpires determined that it was too dark at Hoy Field to finish the 10th inning, depriving Cornell (5-14-1, 1-5 Ivy League) of its chance to win.
“We made a couple bad defensive plays and they didn’t help [senior pitcher Jake Erhard] out,” said BU head coach Tim Sinicki. “We botched a play in a rundown, so he actually threw the ball fairly well today. All said and done, [Erhard, freshmen pitchers Josh Kopcza and Ryan Lambert and sophomore pitcher Greg Satriale] all did a good job on the mound today.”
The Big Red jumped out to an early 4-0 advantage after scoring three runs in the second and one in the third. Erhard, primarily a right-handed relief pitcher, made his first start for Binghamton on the mound. BU went to the bullpen early after Erhard allowed three runs in the second.
Cornell got the scoring going early by capitalizing on Binghamton’s defensive mistakes. Erhard hit the first batter he faced in the second inning and then had him in a rundown on a pickoff attempt, but the BU infielders mishandled the chase, allowing the runner to advance to second base. Erhard settled down to strike out the next batter, but with one out, Cornell junior utility man Josh Arndt drove a two-run home run to right field.
The BU senior duo of catcher Jason Agresti and shortstop Paul Rufo got the ball rolling for the Bearcats’ offense in the fourth inning. Their back-to-back one-out singles to right field sparked a rally that cut the four-run deficit in half.
“[Agresti and Rufo] are our three and four guys for a reason; they have played a lot of innings in this program and have seen a lot of success,” Sinicki said. “So their leadership, abilities and performances really shape our offense; we go the way they go, honestly. If they’re going well we typically play well as a team.”
The duo sparked the BU offense again in the sixth when Agresti started the charge by leading off the inning with a double. Rufo subsequently stepped into the batter’s box and drove him in with a home run to left field.
However, the Bearcats’ offensive momentum was not utilized. After Cornell senior right-handed pitcher Tommy Morris regained his composure, he forced the next three Binghamton batters to ground out and settle for a draw at four runs apiece.
In the top of the seventh inning, BU got things going again with no outs. Redshirt sophomore infielder Alex Baratta propelled the Bearcats to a 5-4 lead by way of the long ball, driving it over the left field fence. Once again the Cornell pitching found its footing and retired the next two batters in order. With two outs, senior center fielder CJ Krowiak laid down a bunt for a hit and advanced to second on a wild pitch. However, Agresti was unable to come up clutch this time, as he grounded out to short.
BU’s edge was short-lived as Cornell started a small two-out rally in the bottom half of the seventh to tie the game at five.
Binghamton went on to load the bases in the ninth and 10th innings, but could not cash in on either opportunity. Eleven Bearcat base runners were left stranded at the end of the nine-and-a-half-inning game.
BU looks forward to its next series at Hartford with an emphasis on solid starting pitching.
“It all starts on the mound with starting pitching,” Sinicki said. “We have to get good starts out of [junior pitcher Nick Gallagher, senior pitcher Nick Wegmann and redshirt senior pitcher Jacob Wloczewski] … [they] did a great job last weekend against UMass Lowell and we need them to continue to perform that way.”
Binghamton is set to return to the diamond this weekend when they play in a three-game set in Hartford. The start time is still to be announced for Friday from Fiondella Field in West Hartford, Connecticut.