Ten days usually seem to transpire quickly. These past 10, however, have not flown by for the Binghamton University softball team, which has dropped five consecutive games and hasn’t won since April 7.
The Bearcats (15-22, 6-6 America East) lost both ends of Thursday’s doubleheader at Syracuse University and were swept by the University of Maine in a three-game series this weekend.
“We’ve lost some close games, but I just think if we … came up with one hit here or there, the outcome of the game changes,” Binghamton head coach Michelle Burrell said. “I guess it was a long week for us.”
Binghamton’s offense stalled on Thursday against Syracuse (30-10, 7-2 Big East), a team which came a few votes shy of cracking the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll. The Bearcats amassed just one run on seven hits while striking out a combined 30 times in the two games.
In the opening game, senior pitcher Kristen Emerling struggled with her control. Her two walks and two wild pitches in the first inning aided the Orange offense, which took an early 2-0 lead. Emerling finished the game with six walks.
Binghamton used a double by sophomore Jessica Bump and an RBI single from sophomore Chelsey Locatell to halve Syracuse’s lead in the fifth inning, but the Orange scored four runs over the next two innings and took the game 6-1.
The second game at Syracuse was much closer. Sophomore Demi Laney and junior Kate Price combined to allow just four base-runners, but Syracuse capitalized where Binghamton did not. With two outs in the fourth inning, Syracuse used a single and a home run to take a 2-0 lead.
Only one Bearcat reached base throughout the rest of the game, and Syracuse won 2-0. Though Binghamton’s margin of defeat was smaller in the second game, Burrell said the offensive effort was better in the opener. The Bearcats combined for 17 strikeouts in the final game.
“In the second game we really just weren’t aggressive, and I think that’s what led to a lot of the strikeouts,” she said. “We really just didn’t make adjustments at all in the second game.”
The offensive struggles persisted at Maine (10-24, 3-5 AE), where the Bearcats scored just two runs in each of the three games. Burrell said her team should have been able to push more runs across the plate against the Black Bears, but pointed to two back-breaking grand slams hit by Maine as a major factor in the first two losses.
With two outs in the first inning of the series opener, Maine junior Hilary Kane belted a grand slam off Emerling to erase Binghamton’s 1-0 lead. Junior Jessica Phillips hit a fifth-inning solo shot to cut the defeat to 4-2, but Maine answered with two runs in each of the next two innings to win 8-2.
In the second game, the Black Bears’ sole offensive production came from freshman Jessica Burk’s third-inning grand slam off Laney. The Bearcats used a two-run single by sophomore Mikala King to halve the lead in the sixth inning, but couldn’t muster anything more and fell 4-2.
The series finale transpired differently. Burrell said her team was in control the entire game, after taking a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Sophomore Lisa Cutrona delivered an RBI single, and freshman Linda Verduzco scored on a wild pitch.
But Maine halved Binghamton’s lead in the sixth, and the Bearcats couldn’t preserve the 2-1 edge in the final inning. The Black Bears pushed across two runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, using a walk-off RBI single by Burk to take the game 3-2 and complete the sweep.
“We really just put too much pressure on ourselves going into the seventh inning,” Burrell said.
Binghamton is scheduled to visit second-place University at Albany this weekend for a doubleheader on Saturday and one game on Sunday.
The Bearcats currently reside in fourth place in the America East standings. With a berth in the AE conference tournament granted to the conference’s top four teams, Burrell said her team is poised to maintain — if not improve — its seed, with just six regular season conference games remaining.
“We’re still in a good spot,” Burrell said. “We’re looking to win both the [upcoming] Albany and Stony Brook series, and I think we should be OK if we could do that.”
First pitch is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at Albany.