The softball team desperately needed to pick up at least one win in a three-game set against the University at Albany, the defending America East champions.
The Bearcats didn’t even come close and were swept by a combined score of 28-4. The team now has only one conference series remaining in its regular season.
“We just had a hard time putting things together,” Binghamton head coach Michelle Burrell said. “We really didn’t have our game plan working, and it was hard to get any kind of momentum all along. We kind of got behind early in the first two games, but I think they were a team that we definitely could have tried to stop more.”
In Friday afternoon’s doubleheader, Albany junior Kylie Apostolina homered twice and sophomore Charlise Castro drove in five runs. Albany (31-10, 12-3 AE) blasted four home runs during the afternoon, while the Bearcats (15-25, 6-9 America East) struggled at the plate, recording a solitary hit in the first game and just three in the second. The Great Danes only needed five innings in each of Friday’s games with the run rule in effect, taking the opener 9-1 and the second 12-2.
Albany sophomore Brittnay MacFawn, who tossed a perfect game against Binghamton just over a year ago, nearly repeated the feat on Saturday. As the Great Danes racked up seven runs through six innings, MacFawn didn’t allow a baserunner until the seventh inning when junior outfielder Jessica Phillips managed to break up the perfect game with her team-leading 10th home run of the season, though the rest of the team was unable to follow her lead. Albany captured the game, 7-1, to complete the sweep.
As Binghamton’s untimely late-season slump continues, the Bearcats are now winless in their last eight games and have won just three of their last 14 outings.
Burrell conceded that the team’s inconsistency has been one of the most disappointing aspects of the season so far.
“We have had some good games, but we haven’t been able to feed off of those games,” she said. “I can’t pinpoint one thing. I think what’s disappointing about this year so far is that we haven’t been playing to the level that we are capable of. We just haven’t found the right way to get the team motivated.”
With just two weeks of the regular season remaining, Binghamton occupies the fourth and final seed for the America East tournament. The Bearcats are certain to face fierce competition from University of Maine (11-26-1, 3-7-1 AE) for the conference tournament berth.
While the Black Bears have two three-game series remaining against the conference’s two bottom teams, University of Hartford and University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the Bearcats are set to face first-place Stony Brook University in their final series.
Burrell said that the Bearcats now face an uphill battle to hold on to the crucial fourth spot, and insisted that the team must give its all against Stony Brook in order to stand any chance at all.
“It would all depend on what Maine does now,” she said. “We probably need Maine to lose a couple games. We are going to need to win ourselves first to put ourselves in a good position. If we don’t, then we are going to need a lot of help from [other teams].”
The Bearcats are next set to hit the field in a non-conference doubleheader against Colgate University on Wednesday. Burrell said she is hoping for a positive response from her team after last weekend’s disappointments.
“We will see how we respond after not having a great weekend,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll go out there and play the way we know we can.”
First pitch of Game 1 is set for 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the Eaton Street Complex in Hamilton.