The Binghamton baseball team kicked off its 2024 campaign against Houston and was ultimately swept in the three games series. BU dropped the first game 8-4, followed by an 8-2 loss in game two. The series concluded on Sunday with the Bearcats suffering a lopsided 7-0 defeat and a series sweep.

“If you break down each game and take away one inning from each of the three games, you’re looking at three pretty solid games,” said Binghamton head coach Tim Sinicki. “All in all, I hate to lose… but I feel good about what the season may end up producing.”

In the first game of the series, the Bearcats (0-3) suffered a 8-4 defeat. Houston (3-0) wasted no time, scoring a run off senior pitcher Gabe Driscoll in the bottom of the first inning. However, the Bearcats came right back in the top of the second inning, plating two runs as junior infielder Devan Bade scored on a wild pitch and junior outfielder Logan Haskell singled to bring in graduate student first baseman Sam Haney. Junior second baseman Nick Roselli then homered in the third inning to give BU a 3-1 lead. Binghamton did not hold this lead for long as the Cougars plated a run in the fourth inning and three runs in both the fifth and seventh innings to take a 8-3 lead. Despite scoring a run in the eighth inning off an RBI single from Roselli, it was not enough as BU dropped its season opener.

“[Roselli] is a terrific player,” Sinicki said. “[Roselli] came out of the gates showing why he is one of the best players not only in the conference but also in the region.”

Binghamton fell 8-2 to the Cougars in game two. Despite, BU striking first in the second inning, as senior first baseman Andrew Tan scored on a ground out to second base by sophomore infielder Mike Stellrecht, the Bearcats were held scoreless until the seventh inning. In this span, the Cougars scored one run in the bottom frame of the third, and two runs in the fourth, before the Bearcats tacked on their second and final run of the game, which came off an RBI double from Bade that brought in senior outfielder Mike Gunning. Houston scored two runs in the bottom off the seventh inning and three runs in the eighth inning to secure an 8-2 victory.

“We struck out way too much,” Sinicki said, “You’re not putting pressure on their defense to make plays. We’ve got to do a better job of trying to find a way to put the ball in play more often. We never really amounted to a serious threat like we want it to.”

In the Bearcats third and final game of the series, they were shutout by the Cougars 7-0. With UNC transfer —senior pitcher Nelson Berkwich on the rubber, making his first start as a Bearcat, Houston got the scoring started with one run in the first and third innings. With Houston leading 2-0 heading into the eighth inning, the Cougars broke the game open with a five run outburst to go up 7-0 against the Bearcats. Then, in the top of the ninth inning, freshman infielder Tim Hennig, Bade, and Tan all struck out for BU as the Cougars sealed a 7-0 victory.

“If you look at each starting pitcher, when they left the game, we were in a ballgame,” Sinicki said. “They gave us an opportunity to be in the ballgame. Some of the guys we brought down the bullpen did a terrific job. Other guys struggled a little bit.”

In addition to the suffering a 3-0 sweep, the Bearcats will be without one of its key pieces in Roselli for the foreseeable future as he did not play in the second and third games of the series against the Cougars due to injury. Sinicki addressed how the loss of Roselli in the lineup will be difficult and how it will be a collective team effort to replace him in the three spot in the starting lineup.

“There’s nobody on our roster that can replace [Roselli],” Sinicki said. “He’s that talented. He’s that experienced, and he’s that dangerous … What we have to do is we have to give opportunities to other players in our program, to, play his position, try to contribute to the team and then we’ve got to find different ways to win games … For the past [X] number of months, I basically had [Roselli] penciled in as our number three hitter for the entire season. So that’s a spot that will have to be something that we define.”

Binghamton’s next three-game series against UNC Greensboro is scheduled to start on Friday, Feb. 23. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. at the UNCG Baseball Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina.