Over the weekend, the Binghamton softball team took to the road for its penultimate series of America East (AE) play against Maine. After sweeping the doubleheader on Saturday with late-game heroics, the Bearcats squeezed out a game three victory against the Black Bears, increasing their winning streak to nine games. The BU pitching staff shined, only giving up five runs over the span of three games.

“We’ve been riding a high the last few weeks, so getting our third straight sweep is awesome,” wrote Binghamton head coach Jess Bump. “This weekend was a bit different as runs weren’t coming by as easy, but I’m super proud of how the girls still found a way to grind out three wins playing against a good Maine team.”

In the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday, BU (29-13, 13-4 AE) got on the board first during the top of the first inning. A fielding error by the Black Bears (12-35, 3-13 AE) allowed redshirt sophomore designated hitter Lindsey Walter to score, giving the Bearcats an early 1-0 lead. However, Maine would tack on a run of its own in the bottom of the second, tying the game at one all. The game would remain 1-1 until the sixth inning, when junior first baseman Allison L’Amoreaux singled to left field to bring in sophomore outfielder Sarah Rende, giving Binghamton a one-run advantage.

“I think our past successes are continuing to keep us confident all around,” Bump wrote. “We’ve gotten down early in a lot of games the past two weeks, but our girls have really learned how to respond and not feel pressure.”

In the seventh, the Bearcats added an insurance run after Maine committed another error. Binghamton would then hold the visitors scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, securing a 3-1 victory in game one. Graduate student pitcher Sophia Pappas went the distance and earned the victory, pitching seven innings, striking out eight batters and only giving up one earned run.

Game two on Saturday began in a similar fashion as Binghamton got on the board first once again, courtesy of a double in the gap by redshirt sophomore outfielder Brianna Santos that scored Rende. However, in the third, Maine would tie things up with a solo home run. Neither team would get on the board again until the top of the seventh when the Bearcats put up three runs as graduate student infielder Alli Richmond, freshman pitcher Brianna Roberts and freshman catcher Emma Lawson all collected RBIs. The Black Bears were held scoreless in the bottom of the inning as Binghamton ended up on top once again by a score of 4-1.

“Our pitchers are continuing to keep us in games,” Bump wrote. “With how much better our offense is this year, they are throwing stress-free and trust that the bats will have their backs if they give up some runs.”

The final contest began with the Black Bears taking an early 1-0 lead over the Bearcats in the bottom of the first inning. However, Binghamton responded almost immediately as sophomore outfielder Laney Harbaugh singled up the middle to score Richmond, tying the score at one. The Bearcats would go on to add runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings, taking a 5-1 lead. Maine then scratched across two runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut Binghamton’s lead to just two. It was not enough, however, and the Bearcats swept the series with a 5-3 victory. Roberts was awarded the victory as she pitched all seven innings and struck out five batters.

With a three-game sweep over Maine, BU has now clinched a top-two seed in the AE, marking the fourth time in program history in which the Bearcats will be a top-two seed going into the postseason. In addition, Binghamton has secured a first-round bye in the AE tournament.

“Getting the two seed is huge,” Bump wrote. “The first-round bye really helps as you only have to win three games instead of 4. An extra day of rest is always helpful, especially for our pitchers.”

Binghamton will conclude AE play against Albany starting on Friday, May 5. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at UAlbany Field in Albany, New York.