The Binghamton men’s baseball team will play a full schedule this year for the first time since 2019. The lineup will have a new look in 2022 after Binghamton lost 10 players to graduation last season, including three of its top five hitters in the lineup.

“We lost some key parts, and it will be difficult to replace them,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “The good news is we have kids in the program who have been waiting their turn, have been patient knowing that they’ve been playing behind very good players. It’s their turn now. We also have some pretty talented young kids in the program who have been pushing their returning players.”

The Bearcats lost three America East (AE) all-conference athletes: second baseman Alex Baratta, third baseman Justin Drpich and outfielder Shane Marshall. Freshmen infielders Nick Roselli, Devan Bade and Logan Haskell will look to fill the gap left behind by the graduated all-stars.

“We got a lot of freshmen infielders this year, so I’ve been trying to give what information I have and pass it down to them,” said senior shortstop Jake Evans. “We’re all excited to get out on that field come March.”

Evans, who started all 35 games for the Bearcats in 2021, returns this season to anchor the Bearcats in the field. Last season, Evans helped to convert 16 double plays while only committing three errors and posted a fielding percentage of .972. The senior led the conference in sacrifice bunts last season.

“Evans is probably the best defensive infielder in the conference,” Sinicki said. “He plays shortstop as well as anyone we’ve ever had. [Evans] is the type of guy who wants the baseball in a big situation. He can do a lot of things out there and has left quite a mark, not only in the program, but in the conference because they understand how good he is on defense.”

Also returning to the lineup is last season’s cleanup hitter junior first baseman Kevin Gsell. Gsell led the team in home runs with four and had 20 RBIs, good enough for second on the team. Gsell will look to pick up where he left off at the end of last season where he batted .333 with 14 RBIs in the last 20 games.

The pitching staff is the unit with the most returning players for Binghamton including its ace southpaw, junior pitcher Thomas Babalis. Babalis led the team with 62 strikeouts a season ago and his 2.86 ERA was the fourth-highest in the AE. The junior was named to the first-team all-conference while pitching three shutouts.

“[Babalis] is a legitimate ace in the conference,” Sinicki said. “Having been in the conference for a very long time now, I know what it looks like to have that guy that you run out every first game, and he’s going to give you a chance to win. That’s what [Babalis] does.”

Babalis will anchor a staff that returns junior pitchers Ryan Bryggman and Jack Collins. Last season, each of the three pitched at least 50 innings. The next-closest Bearcat tossed just over 26 innings.

BU adds two transfer students with sophomore pitcher John Lumpinski from Siena and graduate outfielder Garrett Matheny from Radford. Lumpinski was a second-team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) selection last season after going 4-2 with a 3.56 ERA for the Saints. He struck out 30 batters in 30.1 innings. Matheny will provide speed on the basepath for the Bearcats as he was second in his conference last season with 14 stolen bases in 15 attempts.

“Competition is very healthy within any program,” Sinicki said. “I think the guys are pushing each other pretty good right now. Do we replace them? No, but we hope that collectively as a group we can try to find a way to pick up the loss of production we have from our lineup.”

In addition to a new-look roster, the Bearcats are also set to compete in their new-look stadium in 2022. The highly anticipated debut of the $60 million Baseball Stadium Complex is scheduled to take place this season.

“I drive past [the stadium] every day and the first thing that I think about when I drive by there is, it still leaves me speechless that there is a family who was that generous and felt that strongly about this baseball program and this university as a whole,” Sinicki said.

Coming off a season in which Binghamton missed the postseason tournament for the first time in three years, the Bearcats will look to return to the playoffs. They come into the season picked to finish third in the AE coaches’ poll and received one first-place vote.

The season will start with a three-day road series against Lamar University starting on Friday, Feb. 18. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Provost Umphrey Stadium in Beaumont, Texas.