The Binghamton softball team traveled to Albany, New York to take on Albany in its final America East (AE) conference series over the weekend. The Bearcats managed to take an early 2-0 lead in both games on Friday and the series finale on Saturday but were unable to pick up a win in the series. Despite being swept, Binghamton will be the No. 2 seed going into the AE tournament.

“This was a tough weekend for us result-wise, but we know that every game we play against Albany is going to be a close one, and whatever team executes in times of pressure will come out on top,” wrote Binghamton head coach Jess Bump.

In the first game of the series, after a scoreless first and second inning, BU (29-16, 13-7 AE) took a 1-0 lead against the Great Danes (21-18, 11-7 AE) after freshman infielder Akira Kopec sent one down the left field line and over the fence. The Bearcats added to its total in the top of the fourth when junior first baseman Allison L’Amoreaux doubled to center field, bringing in redshirt sophomore third baseman Brianna Santos.

However, the Great Danes would plate two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at two. Albany followed up its two-run fourth with two more runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead over Binghamton. Despite mounting a late comeback in the seventh to cut the deficit to one, the Bearcats fell short and were defeated 4-3.

“We were pressing a bit this weekend for no reason, but I think we learned a lot about ourselves going into next week,” Bump wrote.

The second game began with Binghamton getting on the board first once again, after junior catcher Hailey Ehlers singled to right field, scoring graduate student infielder Alli Richmond as the Bearcats took an early 1-0 lead. Ehlers was credited with another RBI in the fourth after barreling a second single to right field to plate L’Amoreaux, expanding BU’s lead to two.

Albany would respond in the bottom of the inning with three runs of its own as it took a 3-2 lead over the visitors. Not long after, the Bearcats tied things up at three in the fifth when Richmond singled to right field to bring in sophomore outfielder Sarah Rende. However, In the bottom of the seventh, the Great Danes managed to score off a Binghamton error and walk off the Bearcats 4-3.

“Overall, I think as a group we just need to know what things we do well when we play our best ball,” Bump wrote. “[We need to] compete, stay focused and stay in the present and know that we can come back from any deficit.”

Both teams were held scoreless for much of the final game until the fourth inning when the Bearcats scraped across two runs, courtesy of a two-RBI double from senior catcher Quinn DeCicco. Then, in the bottom of the inning, the Great Danes managed to cut Binghamton’s lead to just one with a home run. Albany plated three more runs in the sixth, as it took a 4-2 lead over the Bearcats. Despite a home run to left center by Richmond in the seventh, the Bearcats were unable to complete the comeback as they fell 4-3 to the Great Danes for the third time in the series.

“We got ahead in all three games, but we could’ve been scoring a lot more runs early to take some pressure off our defense, but we just were competing in the box and having quality at-bats throughout,” Bump wrote. “Despite a tough weekend, there is no doubt in my mind we will go down to Baltimore and compete.”

Despite being swept by Albany, Binghamton has clinched the No. 2 seed in the AE tournament, hosted by UMBC, and will ultimately have a first-round bye.

“Our season has been a great one, and I am so proud of the strides we have made to get to this point,” Bump wrote. “We just need to trust that hard work and know that all of the preparation we have done will help us get to where we want to be next week.”

Binghamton will take on the winner of the first-round AE tournament matchup between No. 3 Albany and No. 6 Maine on Thursday, May 11. First pitch is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Diamond at UMBC in Baltimore, Maryland.