In its final nonconference matchup of the season, the Binghamton softball team fell on the road to Syracuse by a score of 8-1. The Orange (27-18, 8-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) captured its seventh straight game, while the Bearcats (11-21, 4-7 AE) were defeated for the fifth consecutive time.
Sophomore pitcher Alexa Romero (17-11) of Syracuse picked up the victory over sophomore pitcher Rayn Gibson (5-10), who started for BU.
The first inning began with three straight strikeouts registered by Romero and in the bottom of the inning, Syracuse’s offense went to work. With one out and the bases loaded, senior infielder Faith Cain hit a two-run RBI double, giving Syracuse the first score of the game and putting runners on first and third. The Orange went on to score two more runs in the inning, taking an early 4-0 lead.
“It was a combination of things,” said BU head coach Michelle Johnston. “We put a lot of runners on with walks and hit batters, and then we had some opportunities to make some plays. They took advantage of the mistakes that we made, so when we didn’t make a play they came back and were getting hits or working after the walks or hit batters.”
After only one inning pitched, Gibson was pulled from the game and replaced by junior pitcher Makenzie Goluba. Since winning six consecutive starts, including a complete game shutout against UMBC that helped her earn AE Pitcher of the Week, Gibson has struggled as of late. In her last six starts, all of which were losses, she has only pitched past the second inning twice.
In the top of the third, still trailing 4-0, Binghamton got on the board with an RBI single from senior outfielder Jessica Rutherford. Her RBI marked the only run the Bearcats scored throughout the game.
Romero started out flawless, striking out the first seven BU batters she faced. In total, she finished her five innings pitched with 11 strikeouts, two hits surrendered and one run allowed.
“The pitcher [Romero] I thought did a good job,” Johnston said. “We tried to make some adjustments after the first two innings, and we did a little better, but she had a combination of her backdoor and riseball that I thought we were swinging at that we should have laid off of. She was getting ahead early, and then making us chase pitches that we didn’t necessarily want to.”
Despite the lack of offense as a team, Rutherford turned in a strong performance for the Bearcats, going 2-3 at the plate with an RBI. This marked the 53rd multiple-hit game in her career, adding to her program record.
“Honestly, I don’t even notice when I have multiple-hit games,” Rutherford said last week in an appearance on the Pipe Dream Bearcast. “I just go one at bat at a time. I didn’t even know I had that many in my career.”
There was originally a single game at Albany scheduled for the Bearcats Wednesday, but due to weather, it was postponed to next week. It will be played at home at the Bearcats Sports Complex, marking the debut of the newly renovated softball facility. The new field features a state-of-the-art playing field that allows water to drain off instead of seep in and avoid the winter freezing and thawing process.
“We’re just really anxious to get out there,” Johnston said. “I think obviously we’ve been waiting to get out on the new field and play on the new surface. We’re fortunate enough to know that we’re hosting the conference tournament, so we want to use the new field to work to get some momentum going into the end of the year.”
Before their home debut, the Bearcats are set to head to Maine for a three-game series against the Black Bears, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 28. First pitch is set for noon from Kessock Field in Orono, Maine.