The Binghamton baseball team faced the America East (AE) conference leader, Maine, over the weekend — in a clash between the top two teams in the division. Despite losing the first two games, BU mounted a strong comeback in the third, winning 18-17. Despite dropping the series, BU handed the Black Bears their first AE loss this season.

“I thought they were two pretty evenly matched teams,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “I thought the first two nights could’ve gone either way, and [the games] just didn’t go our way and the same thing could be said for today’s game, you know, back and forth. I thought for the most part it was an entertaining weekend. I was anxious to see what [Maine] was all about, undefeated record coming into the weekend, and they’re a good solid ball club. We competed hard, had a chance to win the series, but I’m certainly glad we were able to get at least the last one today.”

The Bearcats (19-12, 6-3 AE) looked to extend their winning streak to seven straight against the Black Bears (17-12, 11-1 AE) in Friday’s game one. The contest saw a lot of action from the mound, as both teams could only muster a single run each by the end of the fifth. BU’s initial contribution to the scoreboard came at the bottom of the second, when senior first baseman Kevin Gsell hammered the first pitch of the frame over the wall for a homer, his third of the season. Maine managed to get one back before Binghamton showed up again in the bottom of the sixth, as sophomore second basemen Nick Roselli hit a home run of his own to make it 2-1.

After flipping the script and getting four runs in the top of the eighth inning, the Black Bears had a three-run cushion. The Bearcats attempted a comeback of their own, scoring two runs and cutting their deficit to one in the bottom of the eighth, but this was not enough to match their opponents, as the hosts fell 5-4.

Unlike game one, game two wasted no time in becoming an offensive affair. Maine’s opening inning saw them storm into a 3-0 lead off the bat. BU would respond by getting a single run in four of their next innings, the first three all involving junior outfielder Mike Gunning — who got a home run and an RBI. Gsell’s bottom-of-the-fifth homer rounded it out and gave the Bearcats their first lead of the game at 4-3. Two late-game homers from the Black Bears would cancel out this comeback, subjecting the hosts to another 5-4 loss.

Game three began the same as game two, as Maine scored three runs in the top of the first. This time, however, Binghamton responded by taking a 5-3 lead in the bottom half, as the batting lineup went on a flurry with scores from junior catcher Kevin Reilly as well as Tully, Roselli, Gsell and Reifler off a wild pitch. The Black Bears would then repeat the outcome of their first inning, scoring another three runs in both the top of the second and fourth, canceling out BU’s sole run in the third to put it at 9-6.

“That’s what it takes,” Sinicki said. “Obviously, when you play this game, you’re going to go through stretches, you’re going to make outs and you’re not going to have your good stuff on the mound. To have everybody contribute over the weekend, even guys who maybe didn’t have a great night Friday and Saturday, to come through today for us. It’s really rewarding when you get a lot of different guys [getting] their hands involved in a win, and everyone can take a lot of pride in it and be happy for everyone, so it’s a good team win today.”

A major fifth inning from the Bearcats would once again turn the tides of the game, scoring six runs in their half. Maine’s response was immense though, beating BU with seven runs, including a grand slam in the sixth. Binghamton began its response with two runs in the seventh, and completed its comeback that inning when back-to-back RBIs from Stellrecht and Tully made it 18-16. BU maintained the lead until the last pitch, securing the 18-17 win and handing the conference leaders their first loss in AE this year.

“I just think it was a game that revealed a lot of character for the guys in our program,” Sinicki said. “Sometimes you’re gonna win a ball game two to one, and sometimes you’re gonna have to win 18 to 17. A lot of guys had a hand in today’s wins, so I think after losing a couple of tough ones on Friday and Saturday — to come back today and the way how the game was up and down — for us to get a win says a lot about our program.”

BU will next travel to Cornell for a midweek game on Tuesday, April 18. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Hoy Field in Ithaca, NY.