For its final series of America East (AE) conference play, the Binghamton baseball team headed to Lowell, Massachusetts over the weekend to take on UMass Lowell. After a late scoring burst allowed the Bearcats to pull ahead and take game one, the River Hawks out-slugged Binghamton in game two, winning by double-digit runs. Then, in the rubber match, despite a late comeback by the Bearcats in the top of the ninth, they fell short as UMass Lowell took the series two games to one.
“We wanted to try to get everyone in the games this weekend so the guys are ready for the [AE Championship Tournament],” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “Some guys who maybe haven’t pitched in the last couple of games, some guys who haven’t gotten a lot of at-bats. You never know what you’re going to need in the tournament.”
The River Hawks (19-33, 11-13 AE) came out of the gates hot in game one, plating four runs in the bottom of the first inning. In response, BU (26-21, 12-12 AE) tacked on four runs of their own in the second, including a three-run home run from junior outfielder Christian Perez to tie up the game. Binghamton proceeded to put an additional four runs on the board in the third inning, which was topped off with an RBI single, courtesy of sophomore second baseman Nick Roselli, which extended Binghamton’s lead to five runs. However, UMass Lowell responded quickly, scoring five runs in the bottom of the fourth to even the score at 9-9.
The game remained tied, as neither team scored until the eighth inning when Binghamton finally broke the stalemate. The Bearcats ended the scoreless stretch with two runs in the eighth, courtesy of an RBI double from senior first baseman Kevin Gsell and a sacrifice fly from junior outfielder Mike Gunning. Binghamton would hold the River Hawks scoreless for the rest of the game, securing an 11-9 win. Graduate student pitcher Tommy Snyder was credited with the win as he pitched five scoreless frames in relief with four strikeouts.
“We got really good relief pitching that day out of [Snyder],” Sinicki said. “He did a good job keeping us around and giving us a chance to have our offense get it back and then eventually take the lead.”
In game two, the River Hawks started off strong once again, scoring seven runs across the first three innings to take a commanding 7-0 lead over the Bearcats. Binghamton would finally get on the board in the sixth inning, courtesy of a solo home run from Roselli and RBIs from sophomore infielder Devan Bade and junior catcher Kevin Reilly, which brought Binghamton within four. However, the River Hawks added six more runs in the bottom of the sixth and four more runs in the eighth, making it 17-3. While the Bearcats plated four more runs in the ninth, it would not be enough as they dropped game two 17-7.
“The game itself is always run through the mound,” Sinicki said. “If you’re gonna get a good start, you will give yourself a chance to win … and we just didn’t get that in that game.”
In the rubber match, Binghamton got on the board in the top of the second with RBI singles from Bade and junior first baseman Andrew Tan to take an early 2-0 lead. However, the River Hawks responded with two runs in the second to tie things up at two. Not long after, UMass Lowell plated seven runs in the third to take a 9-2 lead. Binghamton answered with a two-run home run from freshman infielder Mike Stellrecht which cut Binghamton’s deficit to five but the River Hawks added two more runs in the bottom of the inning to increase their lead to seven once again.
Binghamton began to slowly chip away at the UMass Lowell lead, plating two runs in the fifth, three runs in the seventh and one run in the eighth while then UMass Lowell added just three runs during that span. Going into the top of the ninth, the River Hawks found themselves leading 14-10, looking to secure the series win. Although the Bearcats managed to tack on three more runs in the ninth, their comeback fell short as the River Hawks took the rubber match of the series 14-13 while also winning the series two games to one.
“Anytime you ask a lot out of your bullpen, that’s a dangerous game,” Sinicki said. “Not everyone’s gonna throw up a zero, and when you get yourself in a hole like 9-2 in the third inning, you’re asking a lot of your bullpen to keep it at that margin for the rest of the game.”
Binghamton will now look ahead to the AE Tournament, where it will take on No. 6 NJIT in an elimination game, on Wednesday, May 24. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. at the Bearcats Baseball Complex in Vestal, New York.