No America East Conference baseball team has scored more runs than the University of Maine, which recently totaled 76 runs in a four-game series against University of Maryland, Baltimore County. But the Binghamton University baseball team used two dominant pitching performances to hold the Black Bears to a single run in Sunday’s doubleheader at Cornell University after Saturday’s games were cancelled due to rain. The Bearcats swept the doubleheader, taking the first game 6-0 and the second 2-1 to improve to 6-2 in America East play.
The Bearcats’ performance not only ended Maine’s 14-game win streak, but also knocked the Black Bears (21-16, 7-2 AE) out of first place in the conference standings. Binghamton (15-16, 6-2 AE) head coach Tim Sinicki was extremely impressed with the team’s play over the weekend.
“Anytime you can limit a team like Maine to one run and eight hits over 16 innings, good things are going to happen for you,” Sinicki said. “You combine that with the defense and some timely hitting … [and] overall, it was a really good weekend for us.”
The rain-out didn’t dampen the Bearcats’ spirits, as they dominated the Black Bears in the opener to win 6-0.
Senior pitcher Mike Augliera recorded his second shutout of the season, allowing only four hits throughout the seven-inning game and lowering his ERA to 2.28.
“Mike probably had the best action in his two-seam fastball, [better] than he’s had all year,” Sinicki said. “He was what he’s been all year — very consistent — and he’s staying No. 1.”
Augliera’s pitching gave the Bearcats plenty of time to drive in runs as the Bearcats scored in three consecutive innings with two runs in the second, three in the third and one in the fourth. The Black Bears were simply unable to answer against Augliera.
Game 2 was much more of a nail-biter. Both the Black Bears and Bearcats showcased impressive pitching, with Binghamton’s junior starter Jake Lambert allowing only four hits over eight innings. He surrendered the only run of the weekend on what Sinicki called a “somewhat ridiculous” balk call that advanced Maine first baseman Justin Leisenheimer home.
The Bearcats fought back in the next inning, though, answering with a run of their own in the bottom of the third. The game remained tied all the way until the eighth inning, mainly due to incredible pitching and defense by both teams. It wasn’t until the bottom of the eighth that Binghamton broke the tie, when senior left fielder Dave Ciocchi knocked a two-out RBI single into right field.
“Ciocchi delivered [another] one of his many clutch hits he’s had over his four-year career for us,” Sinicki said. “And it proved to be the game-winner. It was great to see us respond the way we did in the eighth inning.”
Maine was unable to answer in the ninth inning, as junior Lee Sosa successfully added his seventh save of the season.
Freshman Brian Ruby, who went 2-for-5 against Maine, earned America East Rookie of the Week honors. The freshman went 5-for-9 on the week and raised his batting average to a team-best .423 through 19 games.
On Wednesday, Binghamton is slated to face off against Cornell University. The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was pushed back due to bad weather.
The last time Binghamton squared off against Cornell, the Bearcats came away with a 6-4 victory. Sinicki said that he needs to prepare players for the upcoming series against conference foe University of Hartford and will “probably throw eight or nine pitchers again [mainly to] give them a chance to get on the mound and feel good about their mechanics … And hopefully stay sharp or get sharp for the weekend at Hartford.”
Wednesday’s game against Cornell is set for 4 p.m. at David F. Hoy Field.