To round out its preseason tournament slate, the Binghamton women’s softball team went 3-1 at the Penn State Softball Invitational in College Park, Pennsylvania over the weekend. The Bearcats found success early on with an +24 run differential across their first three games, before taking their lone loss of the weekend to Penn State.

“I was really happy with the weekend and how the girls showed up after a tough weekend at [James Madison University] last weekend,” wrote Binghamton head coach Jess Bump. “We are an incredibly talented team, and all three facets clicked this weekend which is great to see as we head into America East (AE) play.”

Opening the tournament against Lehigh (10-13) on Saturday, BU (14-8) got off to a hot start off of an RBI single from sophomore pitcher Brianna Roberts in the first and a home run to dead center courtesy of freshman utility Maddy Dodig to begin the second frame up 2-0. The offense continued in the second inning as a single by redshirt junior outfielder Brianna Santos plated two runners, making it 4-0 Bearcats. Lehigh knotted it at four in the third inning, but Binghamton went back up 6-4 in the fourth inning after a sac bunt followed by a second RBI single from Roberts. An eight spot in the top of the fifth from BU, capped off with a single by graduate student infielder Alex Musial that plated two runs, triggered the mercy rule and secured a 14-4 win for Binghamton.

“Our game against Lehigh was a great offensive showing for us,” Bump wrote. “We hit the ball hard right from the first inning and our outs were very productive. We got momentum and didn’t lose [it] which was something we have struggled with the last few weeks.”

Finishing the action Saturday against Cornell (2-12), the Bearcats quickly surrendered a run in the top of the first. However, the tides turned with a two-run home-run from senior utility Shelby Carvalho in the second inning, followed by two more homers in the third inning, courtesy of redshirt junior utility Lindsey Walter and senior first baseman Allison L’Amoreaux, which put the Bearcats up 4-1. BU added four more runs in the fifth to make it 9-1 and wrap up its second mercy rule win of the day. Leading Binghamton on the mound was Roberts, pitching all five innings with seven strikeouts and just one earned run while going 2-for-3 at the plate.

“[Roberts] didn’t have the best start against Cornell, but really made some great mechanics adjustments after the second inning and settled in nicely,” Bump wrote.

On Sunday, BU defeated Cornell once again, this time, in a 6-0 shutout. Throughout the first four innings, neither team brought a runner home, with sophomore pitcher Olivia Kennedy keeping the Bearcats in it on the mound. The game remained scoreless until the fifth inning when a sac fly from Dodig, followed by a two-run single from Santos gave BU a 3-0 lead. Padding their lead with three more runs in the fifth, the Bearcats stayed in front the rest of the way to secure the 6-0 win. Kennedy remained on the mound for the complete game shutout, recording six strikeouts while allowing just seven runners on base all game.

“We had great at-bats just weren’t necessarily getting the best outcomes,” Bump wrote. “But we hung tough, didn’t veer from our approach and our at-bats got better as the game went on.”

In its final game of the tournament, Binghamton faced off against the tournament hosts Penn State (20-6). The Nittany Lions came out of the gates hot to put up an 11 spot in the first inning. While BU responded with four runs of their own in the second, capitalizing on wild pitches and an RBI double from Santos, Penn State’s lead grew to a 12-4 advantage by the end of the second frame. In the end, Binghamton failed to mount a comeback, as BU suffered a 15-5 loss by mercy rule.

“They continue to have each others backs, and know that at any moment we are a team that is tough to take the field against,” Bump wrote. “We need to continue to see that … The [AE] schedule will be tough, but I am confident that we have prepared the right way and have great momentum going into it.”

The Bearcats will hit the road again next weekend to open AE conference play with a three-game set against Bryant. First pitch of the first game is set for noon on Saturday, March 23 at the Bryant University Softball Complex at Conaty Park in Smithfield, Rhode Island.