The Binghamton softball team hosted UMass Lowell over the weekend for another America East (AE) conference series. The Bearcats jumped ahead quickly against their AE opponents, winning game one on Friday and sweeping the doubleheader on Saturday to come out of the series with three victories. The BU offense shined, outscoring the River Hawks 27-9 during the sweep as it fights for the top seed in the conference.

“Our team is starting to get a lot of confidence in all aspects of the game,” wrote Binghamton head coach Jess Bump. “Our move the line mentality [is] really working for us offensively. Our pitchers are pounding the zone and not giving up a lot of walks, and our defense is playing sound. Everything is coming together at the right time.”

The Bearcats (24-13, 10-4 AE) offense began early in the series, making quick runs in the bottom of the first despite UMass Lowell (15-24-1, 5-9 AE) taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the frame. Graduate student pitcher Sophia Pappas capped the inning’s scoring with a double that brought home redshirt sophomore outfielder Brianna Santos as the hosts grabbed a 3-1 lead. The scoring didn’t halt there, however, as BU plated three more runs in the game including another Pappas double that scored Santos in the fourth inning. The River Hawks staged a late comeback which fell short as Binghamton won 6-3. Pappas shined on the mound for seven innings, notching nine strikeouts in the process, and earned her third win of the season.

“[Pappas] has a demeanor you can’t teach,” Bump wrote. “She’s fierce, competitive and wants the ball. And because of those things, we are all very confident that she is going to give us a good chance to win when we [know] she’s on the mound. Her confidence on the mound is also translating to the batter’s box as well, and she had a great week all around.”

The second game of the series started in a different fashion than the first as a pitching duel surfaced early. The score sat at 1-0 after four and a half innings of play, with the only run coming from a Bearcat single in the second. This changed in the bottom of the fifth, however, as the hosts put a six spot on the board to take a commanding 7-0 lead late. Pappas and Santos came through again, plating the first three runs of the inning in a joint effort. Senior utility Quinn DeCicco capped the run, however, with a three-run shot to center field.

The River Hawks had a four-run response in the next frame but still trailed to the hosts. BU followed up its hot fifth inning with another offensive flurry in the sixth. The Bearcats added their second straight six-run inning, but this time with sophomore outfielder Sarah Rende hitting a three-run homer that would end the game at 13-4 due to the mercy rule.

The final contest began similar to game two as the River Hawks took an early 1-0 lead. However, BU plated runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings while the visitors managed just one more run for the game. Junior first baseman Allison L’Amoreaux brought in Rende after hitting a two-run homer in the third and Santos plated two on her triple in the sixth that helped Binghamton secure an 8-2 victory and the sweep. Pappas earned her second win of the weekend and tossed seven strikeouts in seven innings. The Bearcats recorded their second straight AE sweep with the victory, and have won eight of their last nine conference games. They sit in second place in the conference standings behind top-seeded UMBC.

“We had a really great weekend for many reasons,” Bump wrote. “Series wins are always clutch, but getting that extra win with the sweep back-to-back weekends is huge momentum wise for us. It was also senior weekend and all of our seniors all had a lot of fun and performed well in front of all of their family and friends.”

Binghamton will remain home for a midweek doubleheader against Army on Tuesday, April 25. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m. at the Bearcats Softball Complex in Vestal, New York.

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