Going into its final series of America East (AE) conference play and looking to win a spot in the AE tournament with a win or a Maine loss, the Binghamton baseball team took its destiny into its own hands, clinching the sixth and final spot after securing a win in the final game of a three-game set on the road against NJIT on Saturday.

“We earned our way in and we continue to battle through some very, very unfortunate injuries that we’ve had really since the second game of the year, this year,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “This team has really shown a lot of resiliency in a lot of different areas. To even put ourselves in this position right now, I think it’s really a true testament to the character of this team.”

In game one, Binghamton (21-28, 10-14 AE) held the lead for the majority of the game but fell 7-4. After senior pitcher Gabe Driscoll went six innings, giving up just one run, the bullpen was unable to contain NJIT’s (24-26, 12-11 AE) offense, as BU allowed six runs on five hits. The Bearcats’ offense tacked on two more runs but was unable to recover, coming up short-handed.

“We’re up to those challenges,” Sinicki said. “We signed up for this and the guys have done as good a job as they can.”

The second game of the series saw a slugfest between the Bearcats and Highlanders. The two teams combined for 26 total runs, with NJIT coming out on top 15-11. Binghamton and NJIT each tallied 15 hits and despite the visitors holding an 11-8 lead late in the game, a seven-run eighth inning propelled the Highlanders to the victory in game two.

“We didn’t pitch as well in the bullpen as we could have and as we had in the past,” Sinicki said. “Sometimes you just don’t know with the bullpen … Some days you have it, some days you don’t — that’s baseball.”

With the season on the line, BU delivered with a 12-7 comeback win in the final game of the series to secure a spot in the AE tournament. After going down 5-0 after four innings, the Bearcats rallied back with two runs in the fifth inning and six runs in the sixth. Binghamton added some insurance in the late innings and kept NJIT at bay to earn the victory. Junior second baseman Nick Roselli had a monster two-homer day, going 3-for-3 with five RBIs.

“We’re gonna have to have some guys have really, really good weeks offensively, just because we’re missing some guys in the lineup,” Sinicki said. “It all begins on the mound. If you get a good start and you can jump out ahead of somebody, I think [that] definitely puts pressure, especially in games on Wednesday — those are elimination games.”

The win also marked Sinicki’s 700th career win at Binghamton. He shared what the win meant to him, with the 2024 season being his 32nd season at the helm. While the Bearcats may not have met lofty preseason expectations, being selected to finish first in the AE in the preseason coach’s poll, Sinicki is confident that the team will be able to have success and is excited to compete in the AE tournament once again.

“It’s really about the people around me in my life, with my staff and the support people and family that allows you to do this job,” Sinicki said. “I’m just fortunate to be the head coach … when we win, I get the wins, and when we lose, I get the losses. I’ve never done it for that reason. I’ve done it just for the sheer joy of the game and trying to make a difference in the lives of young men … I won’t ever count us out until that last out is made. We’re excited. We’re happy to keep playing.”

With a quick turnaround and going into the AE tournament as the No. 6 seed, Binghamton will take on No. 3 NJIT on Wednesday, May 22 as it looks to make a deep playoff run once again. First pitch is set for 5 p.m. at the Bearcats Sports Complex in Vestal, New York.