As cold weather returned to the Southern Tier, the Binghamton softball team continued its America East (AE) Conference schedule, fighting in a tough three-game series against the Stony Brook Seawolves. Binghamton (11-17, 4-4 AE) had begun conference play with a few wins, going 3-2 over a five-game stretch against Albany and UMBC. However, the Bearcats took a few steps back over the weekend, going 1-2 in a three-game series against Stony Brook (15-15, 4-4 AE).
Binghamton split the games Saturday, losing 13-7 and winning 10-6, but failed to win again on Sunday, falling 10-0 in five innings of play. The Bearcats gave up 29 runs over the three-game stretch, presumably a major reason as to why BU head coach Michelle Johnston was disappointed with the team’s performance over the weekend.
“Overall, I think we made a lot of mistakes and gave them a lot of extra opportunities,” Johnston said. “And that’s something that’s been a problem for us in the past and continued to be a problem for us this weekend.”
Binghamton never took control over the games it lost over the weekend, failing to acquire a lead throughout either game. Binghamton faced an early 6-2 deficit in the first game of the series and soon fell into a 10-3 hole. In the third game, the Bearcats did not score a run through the five innings they played.
In the first game on Saturday afternoon, the Seawolves got off to a hot start offensively, forcing Binghamton’s starting pitcher, sophomore Rayn Gibson, to exit after just 1.2 innings pitched. A four-run second inning propelled Stony Brook into the lead, 6-2. The Seawolves stayed ahead for the remainder of the game, sprinkling in seven more runs in the remaining five innings. Sophomore pitcher Rozlyn Price, in the designated hitter role, smashed a grand slam in the bottom of the seventh, her second homer of the game. Though it brought her RBI total to six, it was far too late to change the outcome of the game.
The Bearcats fared better in the second game on Saturday. It was Binghamton that put together an offensive spurt in the second inning, thanks in part to a couple of errors by Stony Brook. Senior infielder Kate Richard scored three RBIs in these first two innings. The Seawolves would not go away easily, however, scoring four runs in the third. Then, freshman pitcher Chelsea Howard came into the game and pitched four lights-out innings to save the game for Binghamton.
Sunday’s game was played against Stony Brook sophomore starter Melissa Rahrich, against whom the Bearcats had some success in the first game the previous day.
“We hoped to be a little bit more consistent today, especially after being able to see her on Saturday,” Johnston said.
Rahrich upped her performance, though, pitching for Stony Brook for the entire game and allowing no runs and just two hits. This allowed Stony Brook to steadily pull away until the end of the fourth, when the Seawolves blew the game open and got ahead 10-0. The game was called an inning later, at the end of the fifth. The Bearcats went scoreless in their last game against Stony Brook, marking the sixth game in which they went scoreless this season.
Johnston gave no excuses for her team’s performance, not even the cold weather.
“I think it’s been cold for a lot of teams,” Johnston said. “So whether or not it’s affected us, I don’t know, but it’s been this way for a lot of teams and Stony Brook played in the same weather we did, so I don’t think we can use that as an excuse.”
Johnston said, however, this team is continuously improving.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks to figure this out … every game and every practice that we have, we get better,” she said.
The Bearcats take a break from their conference schedule when they are set to head to Syracuse for a doubleheader tomorrow, April 17. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. from Skytop Softball Stadium in Syracuse, New York.