The Binghamton softball team returned home over the weekend for an in-state America East (AE) conference matchup against the University at Albany. BU went into the final game of the weekend tied at a game apiece, but a two-run double in the sixth inning secured the win 3-2, confirming the weekend series victory for the hosts.

“It was good to get the series win against Albany,” wrote Binghamton head coach Jess Bump. “We always know games against them will be tough as they are well-coached and always a really good offensive team who can make adjustments. We continue to pitch well and play good defense and grind offensively. I would still like to see our offense execute better with [runners in scoring position] to alleviate some pressure on the other side of the ball.”

The series opened with the Bearcats’ (17-12, 4-4 AE) most efficient performance of the weekend, holding the Great Danes (13-12, 4-3 AE) to five scoreless innings. BU got its game started in the bottom of the third when sophomore outfielder Sarah Rende hit an RBI double, sending two runners home to put her team up 2-0. Rende continued to be involved in the action, getting to third base, and was eventually sent home herself after a single from graduate student infielder Alli Richmond, ending the inning with a three-run cushion.

After two scoreless innings were played, game one was capped off by an eventful sixth inning. Binghamton’s lead was threatened by two sequential RBIs from the Great Danes in their half, however, it wasn’t left without a response. BU secured its win off a single from redshirt sophomore outfielder Brianna Santos, allowing redshirt sophomore infielder Gabby Guerrero to grab the game’s final run. Freshman pitcher Brianna Roberts, who started and pitched a complete game for the Bearcats, managed a career-high 12 strikeouts in her team’s 4-2 win, her sixth of the season.

“[Roberts] obviously had a great weekend on the mound,” Bump wrote. “Game one she dominated — had a great presence, really good command of all of her pitches and just kept their hitters guessing. She has this switch that she can turn on when she wants, and if she can find a way to maintain what she did this weekend, she is going to continue to keep us in every single game.”

Game one was immediately followed by game two in a Saturday doubleheader. The Great Danes rebounded from their initial defeat though, going up four runs after three innings of play. Binghamton managed to find its only runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth as freshman catcher Emma Lawson’s RBI double and an error from an Albany player allowed two runners on base to get home. Another run for the visitors in the seventh secured the Great Danes’ 5-2 win and leveled the series going into Sunday’s final game.

“Game two we hit the ball really hard, unfortunately just right at people,” Bump wrote. “We put ourselves in position multiple times to score multiple runners and just didn’t execute. It’s been something that we’ve really had to work hard on this season, and some of these tight game losses are coming down to getting the job done and scoring more runs.”

In the final contest, Albany struck first with a run in the third. This time the Bearcats’ response was swift, however, as Santos and Rende both found themselves involved again. The former hit a double to center field, getting out on the play but sending Rende home for the hosts’ opening run. While Albany was the first to break the 1-1 deadlock in the top of the sixth, BU responded in a timely manner once again. Richmond managed an RBI double in the bottom of the inning, sending it to center field and giving runners Rende and sophomore outfielder Laney Harbaugh the opportunity to get home and secure the 3-2 win.

“The two-run double was obviously big to take the lead on Sunday,” Bump wrote. “I think we caught a bit of luck as it was directly in the sun, but with how hard we hit the ball all weekend, I’d like to say we earned that. Unfortunately for Albany, it just came in a really big situation. Our outfield play was impeccable this weekend. We knew Albany was going to be putting the ball in play a lot and hard, and our outfield came up with a few diving catches and some great runs in the gaps to get us out of some innings.”

Roberts’ pitching and record continued to be solid, winning both games she pitched this series on a 1.50 ERA. Rende was also a standout for BU, going three-for-10 with three runs scored and two RBIs. Redshirt sophomore utility Lindsey Walter hit a team-best .500 on the weekend, improving her season batting average to a team-best .486.

BU will continue AE conference play against Bryant with the series starting on Saturday, April 15. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Conaty Park in Smithfield, Rhode Island.