In its final game before the start of America East (AE) conference play, the Binghamton baseball team returned to Vestal, New York and earned a walk-off 8-7 win over St. Bonaventure in its home opener. After a back-and-forth contest that went into extra innings tied at six, a walk-off RBI single from senior outfielder Tommy Reifler in the 10th inning secured the victory for BU.

“We played well enough when we had to,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “I didn’t think we did some of the smartest things in the world, but the one thing this ball club has shown in its first 14 games is that there’s not a lot of quit, and even in losses, we’re putting ourselves into a position to try and win games. That’s a good characteristic for any team to have. We just have to continue to play smarter.”

After a scoreless first frame, senior first baseman Andrew Tan launched a solo home run to left center field in the second inning to give Binghamton (5-9) a 1-0 lead. While St. Bonaventure (4-10) knotted the score at one in the top of the fourth inning, Binghamton regained the lead in the bottom of the inning, with Tan driving in junior infielder Devan Bade from third with a line out to right field. The Bonnies plated a run in the top of the fifth inning via a fielder’s choice to tie things up again at two, but the Bearcats came right as junior catcher Evin Sullivan scored off a throwing error to make it a 3-2 game.

“We have a bunch of guys in the program who have played a lot of innings here,” Sinicki said. “That experience factor is very big when it comes to these types of situations. It’s up to the players and the coaches to get that type of experience into the younger players.”

Both teams continued to go back and forth, as a three-run home from the Bonnies allowed them a 5-3 lead. However, in the bottom of the seventh, RBI singles courtesy of senior shortstop Isaiah Corry and junior outfielder Logan Haskell tied the game back up at five.

“We have a really good group of veteran players that are driving this team right now in terms of these types of resiliency situations,” Sinicki said.

After surrendering the lead once more to St. Bonaventure off an error in the top of the ninth, Binghamton made the most of its turn in the bottom of the inning. Facing a new Bonnies’ pitcher, the Bearcats maintained their discipline at the plate and walk the bases loaded. Then, senior outfielder Eric Madenberg was walked, forcing in the tying run — knotting the score at six. Binghamton was unable to capitalize further, sending the game to extra innings.

“We just read what was happening on the mound,” Sinicki said. “The pitcher was kind of unraveling and the last thing you want to do at that point is chase a pitch. Our guys did a good job not chasing out of the zone. I trust our guys to hit with one strike, so it was important there to take a strike at the end when the wheels were coming off for the pitcher.”

The Bonnies scored a run in the top of the 10th inning and the Bearcats entered the bottom of the inning trailing 7-6. Binghamton quickly got two runners on base thanks to two consecutive St. Bonaventure errors, along with a pitch that snuck by the Bonnies’ catcher, allowing the Bearcat runners to advance. After the Bonnies’ catcher threw the ball to third base, it was high and sailed into left field, allowing Tan to score and tie the game at seven. Binghamton’s next batter, Reifler, then nailed an RBI single to drive in the winning run, freshman infielder Todd Abraham, delivering an 8-7 win for the Bearcats.

“We got lucky with the errors and from there, it was a situation where we had to play for the tie,” Sinicki said. “Especially being at home, we tried to advance the runners, it’s just part of what we do and who we are. With the injuries we have right now, we can’t just sit back and try to pound the ball into the gaps, we have to try and put pressure on teams, and I think that really worked out in our favor.”

Binghamton will begin America East (AE) conference play with a three-game series over the weekend against NJIT, beginning on Friday, March 15. First pitch for the first game is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Bearcats Baseball Complex in Vestal, New York.