After an eight month break following its trip to the national tournament, the Binghamton baseball team was back in action over the weekend as it opened up the 2023 season at Clemson. In the three-game series, the Bearcats posted an 0-3 record as they were swept by the Tigers. BU dropped the first game in lopsided fashion 11-3, lost a close matchup in game two and was defeated 19-1 in the final game of the series.

“Anytime you go down and play a power five opponent, especially someone with the tradition that a program like Clemson has, you know you’re in for an uphill battle,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “As much as we want to win every time we take the field, we also have to look at the big picture and try to figure out what we did well and what areas do we need to improve in.”

In the first contest of the weekend, the Bearcats’ (0-3) senior pitcher Thomas Babalis toed the rubber, pitching 3.1 innings, allowing eight hits and six earned runs. However, during Babalis’ time on the mound, the Tigers (3-0) managed to score two runs off Binghamton errors in the fourth and seventh innings. BU relied upon three other pitchers during the rest of the game, including senior pitchers Kyle Eskildsen and Tanner Sinicki along with graduate student pitcher Tommy Snyder.

The Bearcats committed five errors in game one while the Tigers committed none. Although Binghamton was only outhit 11-8, it only managed to plate three runs in comparison to Clemson’s 11. The runs came courtesy of a single by sophomore outfielder Logan Haskell in the third inning, a single by junior outfielder Mike Gunning and a sacrifice fly by senior infielder Kevin Gsell, which came in the eighth inning.

Despite a closer outcome in game two of the series, Binghamton fell to the Tigers 3-2. The Bearcats managed to strike first after junior outfielder Tommy Reifler scored on a wild pitch in the sixth inning. The visitors held the lead until the eighth, when the Tigers were able to scratch three runs past BU to take a 3-1 lead. The Bearcats did not go down without a fight and put one run past Clemson in the ninth inning as it looked for a late rally. However, with the tying run on second base and one out, Binghamton came up short as back-to-back strikeouts ended the game.

Although BU outhit Clemson 9-6 in the contest, it failed to capitalize on several opportunities. Binghamton utilized three pitchers over the course of the matchup. Junior pitcher Gabe Driscoll pitched five shut out innings, allowing only two hits and striking out four Tiger batters.

“[Clemson] had over 5,000 people there,” Sinicki said. “Place was covered in orange and purple, just a great college baseball environment. Our guys, I think, really enjoyed playing in a little bit of a hostile situation, and I liked the way we competed in that regard.”

In their third and final game against Clemson, the Bearcats were soundly defeated 19-1 as the Tigers managed to complete the sweep. Clemson got the scoring starting in the second inning, bringing in one run. However, the Tigers would do the most damage in the fourth and sixth innings, putting up seven runs in each one. Despite accumulating nine hits, Binghamton was unable to recover from the deficit and managed only one run in the loss.

“We did not have an extra base hit,” Sinicki said. “While I don’t think we struggled necessarily to get hits and put the ball in play, it’s difficult to string many hits together against a program like [Clemson] … That’s where I think we need to get better on the offensive end. Try and figure out how we can do a better job with getting more than just singles out of our guys.”

Senior pitcher Ryan Bryggman recorded the loss for the Bearcats, giving up six earned runs in just 3.1 innings. Binghamton used three pitchers in relief, which included junior pitcher Justin Rosner who was followed up by freshman pitchers Dan McAliney and Andrew Fingleton.

Binghamton’s next game against Wake Forest is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 24. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at the David F. Couch Ballpark in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.