Capturing its first America East (AE) series in nearly a month and its first-ever series win at Maine, the Binghamton softball team downed the third-place Black Bears this past weekend, taking two of three games. With only four games remaining in the regular season, all of which are against conference opponents, the Bearcats (13-22, 6-8 AE) picked up some much-needed victories as they hope to build confidence and momentum heading into postseason play.
The spread between BU and Maine (19-21, 8-5 AE) kicked off on Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader. Although Binghamton took game one, 4-1, it ultimately fell to the Black Bears in the nightcap, 9-8.
After struggling mightily in several previous starts, sophomore starting pitcher Rayn Gibson unsurprisingly did not earn the starting gig in the first game of the weekend. Sophomore starting pitcher Rozlyn Price, apparently taking over Gibson’s usual role, posted her fifth win of the year in efficient fashion. BU head coach Michelle Johnston could not have asked for a better start to the series from her starter as Price tossed six innings, fanned four batters, surrendered only one hit and kept Maine off the scoreboard.
In addition to the success achieved on the mound, Price received no shortage of offense from her teammates in the opener. Senior third baseman Kate Richard drove in two runners off of a single in the top of the third inning. Just two innings later, senior outfielder Jessica Rutherford helped fuel the offense with an RBI double and later scoring on a wild pitch.
Despite tallying eight runs and 10 hits, five more than the Black Bears, BU committed four errors and allowed seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to let the second game of the series slip away. Gibson, who got the start in game two, managed six innings and allowed three earned runs and six walks. Even though it was objectively one of her better starts in recent outings, Binghamton’s defensive mistakes ultimately cost her another victory.
Richard, who had her second two-run single of the day, put BU in the driver’s seat for a majority of the match. The Bearcats scored six times in the top of the seventh inning off of Richard’s team-best 27 RBIs of the year, yet Binghamton recorded two different errors in the bottom of the frame that sealed the defeat. Senior right-handed pitcher Molly Flowers registered her third victory of the season over 0.2 innings for the Black Bears.
Logging her second start of the series during the rubber game, Price threw 2.1 solid innings and failed to allow a single earned run in the 3-1 victory. Not only did Price get the job done from 43 feet, but she also helped the Bearcats secure the win with a two-run single in the top of the eighth inning. After Price’s early exit, freshman pitcher Chelsea Howard took care of business with six strikeouts and zero earned runs in relief.
“I just really liked the way we played today,” Johnston said, according to Binghamton Athletics. “They are working together as a team and starting to play with confidence. Chelsea and our entire defense did a great job.”
With all of their road series wrapped up, the team will head home to take on the Great Danes in the long-awaited debut of the new softball field. Albany (23-13, 9-4 AE) currently ranks second in the conference, only trailing UMass Lowell.
BU is set to face off with the Great Danes in a one-game series on Wednesday from the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.