Provided by BU Bearcats Senior pitcher Gabe Driscoll recorded a victory, going seven innings with five strikeouts and giving up just one earned run in BU’s opening 6-2 win over VMI over the weekend.

The Binghamton baseball team wrapped up its month one road trip to start its 2024 campaign against the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), ultimately dropping two of three games in the weekend series. After splitting the doubleheader on Friday, winning the opening game 6-2 and dropping the latter 5-3 , the Bearcats suffered another 5-3 defeat in the rubber match to exit the weekend with a 1-2 record.

“I think [VMI] is a team that is a really good program,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “They’ve played a couple other power five [teams] and battled pretty them good, but I’m disappointed that we didn’t win the series.”

In the first game of the series, the Bearcats (4-9) emerged victorious 6-2. BU got to work early, plating two runs against the Keydets (8-9) in the second inning, courtesy of an RBI triple from sophomore infielder Mike Stellrecht and an RBI groundout off the bat of freshman infielder Todd Abraham. VMI and Binghamton’s pitchers dueled as the game neither team scored again until top of the seventh inning, when graduate student first baseman Sam Haney hit a solo home run and junior infielder Devan Bade hit an RBI double to make it 4-0. VMI tallied one run in the bottom of the seventh inning to bring the Keydets within 3 runs. However, Binghamton added two insurance runs in eight inning. The Keydets went on to score one run in the ninth, but it was enough as BU picked up the win in game on.

“I thought for the most part [the pitching this series] was good,” Sinicki said. “I thought we got a great start out of [senior pitcher Gabe Driscoll] on Friday. [Sophomore pitcher Ryan Bates] had too many walks, [which] ran up his pitch count a little too quick, but kept us in the ball game. [Senior pitcher Nelson Berkwich] was good as well, but unfortunately the bullpen gave up a couple runs after he left the game.”

Binghamton fell 5-3 to the Keydets in game two, despite getting on the board first. In the third inning, a sacrifice fly from Bade brought in Strellrecht to make it 1-0. VMI’s responded with three runs in the fifth inning. Then, a two-run home run, courtesy of senior outfielder Mike Gunning in the sixth inning tied the game at 3-3. Two innings later, the Keydets put up a two-spot in the bottom of the eighth inning to take a 5-3 lead. VMI held this for the rest of the way, taking the second game of the Friday doubleheader. A bright spot for the Bearcats in the afternoon was junior catcher Evin Sullivan, who went 6-for-8 at the plate over the two games.

“It’s about consistency,” Sinicki said, “[Sullivan] had a great day on Friday, and didn’t have a great day [on Sunday], so it’s about being consistent each and every time out. It doesn’t mean getting three hits every time out, it’s about getting quality at bats and that’s what we need from [Sullivan].”

In the rubber match, BU suffered another 5-3 loss to the Keydets. BU struck first in the third inning off an RBI single by junior outfielder Logan Haskell which brought in senior outfielder Eric Madenberg. However, VMI came right back with two runs in the fourth inning and one run in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to take a 5-1 lead. In the eight inning, Bearcats closed the gap, plating two runs after Gunning smacked an RBI double and Stellrecht hit an RBI single to bring the score to 5-3. However, this was the closest Binghamton managed to get. In the top of the ninth, after a leadoff single from senior shortstop Isaiah Corry, VMI shut the door as BU was defeated in the game and the series altogether.

“We work on situational hitting every day in practice,” Sinicki said. “So it comes down to taking what you do in practice and applying it to game situations. We need everyone to buy into what it means to be a good team offense — [and without that], we’re not going to get where we want to be.”

Binghamton will play its home opener against St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, March 12. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at the Bearcats Baseball Complex in Vestal, New York.