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Baseball Wins Thriller 4-3 Over Stony Brook; Forces Decisive Game 7
Bearcats defeated Hartford 8-0 earlier in day to setup meeting with Stony Brook
May 24, 2014Tweet
Contact: Terrence Lollie (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LOWELL, Mass. – Junior left fielder Jake Thomas roped a two-out RBI single to center field in the top of the ninth propelling the Binghamton baseball team to a thrilling 4-3 victory over top-seeded Stony Brook in the 2014 America East Championship, Saturday night at LeLacheur Park. In a must-win game for the Bearcats (24-25), a clutch ninth inning extended their season one more day and forced a winner-take-all Game 7 tomorrow at noon.
Binghamton, playing in its fifth championship round in program history, defeated Stony Brook for the first time in its America East Championship history (1-3 all-time) thanks to solid pitching, sure-handed defense and timely hitting.
One of those sure-handed plays came when the Bearcats received a clutch double-play from sophomore third baseman Reed Gamache in the bottom of the ninth. With runners on first and third and one out, Gamache made a shoe-string catch on a laser by Casey Baker then turned and threw to second to double-up the runner. At first it did not appear to be a clean catch but the umpire crew huddled and deemed the play good to end the 3 hour and 12 minute game.
Six of Binghamton’s nine batters collected a hit on the night led by senior second baseman Daniel Nevares’ 2-for-4 outing. Thomas, whose clutch hit scored Nevares, also registered a multi-hit game going 2-for-5 on the night.
Head coach Tim Sinicki wisely utilized a short pitching staff going with freshmen Nicholas Liegi and Jextin Pugh for four innings each before Tsuyoshi Horibata closed out the game in the ninth picking up his second career save. Pugh earned his first career win after battling through a tough eight inning.
Binghamton threatened early putting a pair of runners on in the top of the first and loading the bases in the top of the second with no outs. However, in the second freshman catch Eddie Posavec grounded into a 3-2-3 double-play and a diving grab by the Stony Brook second baseman ended Binghamton’s chance at striking first.
Stony Brook, the nation’s leader in fielding percentage, capitalized on its solid defense by scoring a run in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead. The Seawolves defense did falter at times however, committing three errors, allowing three unearned runs.
The Bearcats manufactured a run in the top of the fifth to tie the game at one. Senior shortstop John Howell led off the inning with a walk then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Binghamton had runners on the corners when senior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz grounded into what could have been an inning-ending double play. However, the speedster beat the throw to score Howell from third.
After both teams went down in order in the sixth the see-saw battle began in the seventh. Howell slapped a one-out single to right field then stole second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Two batters later junior right fielder Zach Blanden hit a shot to first scoring Howell and handing Binghamton a 2-1 advantage.
Stony Brook answered in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI double by America East Player of the Year Kevin Krause. With the Seawolves still threatening with one out, Howell made a great defensive play on a line drive to double-up Krause at second.
The Bearcats had a response however, as Nevares led off the eighth inning with a single to left field. Thomas then laid down a sacrifice bunt but an errant throw by Stony Brook allowed Nevares to move to third. A red-hot Shaun McGraw then sent a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score Nevares and hand the Bearcats a 3-2 lead.
Stony Brook rallied yet again, as a two-out RBI single by Josh Mason evened the score at three in the bottom of eighth.
An extremely resilient Binghamton squad never stopped fighting however, as a Blanden walk and stolen base coupled with a single by Nevares put runners on the corners with two out, setting up Thomas’ heroics.
The Seawolves had the heart of the order due up in the bottom of the ninth. Krause reached on a pretty bunt single down the left side. Kevin Courtney, a first-team all-conference selection, laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Krause in scoring position. After Horibata walked Cole Peragine the fireworks commenced. Horibata delivered a 2-1 pitch to lefty Casey Baker, who lined into the controversial game-ending double play.
Binghamton is just the third team in America East history to force a decisive game seven after losing its opening game of the tournament (Maine, 2002 & Vermont 2006). The teams meet again Sunday at noon for the conference title. The Bearcats are seeking to become the first team to win back-to-back America East titles since Maine did it in 2005 and 2006.
BINGHAMTON 8, HARTFORD 0 (Game 5)
The Binghamton baseball team cruised past Hartford 8-0 in the losers’ bracket final to advance to the title round of the 2014 America East Championship, Saturday afternoon at LeLacheur Park. The defending champion Bearcats will be making their fifth title round appearance tonight at 6 p.m. versus top-seed Stony Brook. BU must win to force a Game 7 tomorrow at noon and continue its hopes for back-to-back titles.
The Bearcats received an absolute gem from junior Greg Ostner who threw a complete-game shutout in just his second career start. The righty from New Milford, Conn. scattered six hits, issued one walk and struck out four batters. He threw an extremely efficient 105 pitches (72 strikes) preserving a depleted Binghamton bullpen.
Binghamton’s offense exploded for 12 hits and eight runs as the heart of BU’s order went a combined 7-for-15 with four RBI and seven runs scored. Senior Shaun McGraw continued his stellar tournament with a 2-for-3 day with two RBI and two runs scored. Classmate Daniel Nevares went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and junior Jake Thomas broke out of his 0-for-9 slump with a 1-for-3 outing with two RBI and two runs scored.
The Bearcats wasted little time breaking the game open plating five runs in the bottom of the first, supplying Ostner with all the offense he would need. Binghamton’s 1-2-3 hitters all singled to start the game to load the bases for Thomas. The two-time first-team all-conference selection roped a single to left field scoring junior Zach Blanden and senior Bill Bereszniewicz. McGraw continued the production with a double down the left field line to score Thomas and Nevares. After a ground out, freshman designated hitter Brendan Skidmore’s sacrifice fly plated McGraw to give the Bearcats a 5-0 lead after the first. The Bearcats ran Hartford starting pitcher Kyle Gauthier after the first inning.
In the fourth Ostner gave up a lead-off single to freshman David McKinnon, the only Hawk to record a hit at the time. However, a solid Binghamton defense turned its fourth double-play of the tournament to stymie an answer from Hartford.
Binghamton added three more runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 8-0. Nevares lead-off the inning with a single up the middle then stole second to move into scoring position. After a pair of walks to Thomas and McGraw, sophomore Reed Gamache was hit to score Nevares. Senior John Howell then scored Thomas with a sacrifice fly to right field. America East All-Rookie selection Eddie Posavec rounded out the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single through the right side to plate McGraw.
Hartford put together its biggest threat of the game in the sixth as the Hawks produced back-to-back one-out singles. However, Ostner was able to get Hartford’s 3 and 4 hitters to fly out and end the inning and the Hawks last real chance.
Ostner recorded three 1-2-3 inning during his stellar outing to pick up his third win of the season and fifth of his career.
Posavec continued his outstanding tournament going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Bereszniewicz went 2-for-5 with a run scored. Only one Binghamton battered failed to record a hit.
Binghamton is just the sixth team to lose its first game in the conference championship and advance to the title round. Only two teams have forced a Game 7 in the tournament history, Maine in 2002 and Vermont in 2006. Maine is the only team to go on to win the title after losing its first game of the championship.
The Bearcats also advanced to the championship round in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012, winning titles in 2009 and 2012. Stony Brook and Binghamton are meeting four just the fourth time ever in the conference championship and the second in the title round.