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BU baseball edged by Maine 4-3 in America East tournament opener
Bearcats rally falls just short in ninth; team relegated to loser's bracket
May 25, 2011
STONY BROOK, N.Y.—Second-seeded Maine (30-22) snapped a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning and held off third-seeded Binghamton (21-27) 4-3 in the opening game of the America East tournament Wednesday afternoon from Stony Brook’s Joe Nathan Field. The Bearcats will now face an elimination game Thursday morning in the double-elimination format.
In an evenly-matched pitcher’s dual that included just two extra-base hits, Maine took the lead with a run in the sixth inning and made it 4-2 with an insurance run in the eighth. The Bearcats mounted a spirited rally in the ninth that ended when freshman second baseman Daniel Nevares was called out on a bang-bang play at first to end the game with the tying run rounding third.
Down 4-2 and down to its final out, BU put three straight runners on base and scored a run before Nevares hit a rocket that seemed destined for center field. The come-backer drilled Maine ace Keith Bilodeau near the shoulder and bounced back toward home plate, where the Maine catcher threw to first to record the final out. Earlier in the inning, senior left fielder Corey Taylor walked and took second when senior designated hitter Jeff Skelhorne-Gross reached on a fielding error by the Maine shortstop. Sophomore third baseman Jordon Smucker then smacked an RBI single to right field, scoring Taylor and trimming BU’s deficit to one, 4-3.
Senior James Giulietti scattered six hits and four runs over eight innings, with the final and only extra-base hit (leadoff triple) doing the most damage. Giulietti (5-6) struck out six and walked two.
Bilodeau (10-2) went the distance, surrendering seven hits and three runs and absorbing one body shot on the game’s final play.
The Bearcats opened the scoring with a run in the third inning. Junior first baseman Dave Ciocchi stroked a two-out RBI single up the middle to score freshman center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz, who had singled with one out, moved to second on a groundout and to third on a passed ball.
Maine answered with two runs in the bottom of the third, making the most of two singles. A leadoff walk, sacrifice bunt and fly ball aided the scoring output.
Binghamton knotted it in the fourth, thanks to a balk from Bilodeau. Taylor hit a one-out single and advanced to third on a single from Skelhorne-Gross. While coming to the plate in haste, Bilodeau was called for a balk, scoring Taylor to even the game at 2-2.
Maine took the lead with a run in the sixth. The Black Bears used a leadoff single, sacrifice bunt and RBI single to push ahead 3-2. Giulietti limited the damage after back-to-back strikeouts with a runner on second ended the inning. Maine added an important insurance run in the eighth after a leadoff triple and one-out foul sacrifice fly.
Skelhorne-Gross and Ciocchi each went 2-for-4 to pace BU’s offense. The Bearcats put runners on base in each of the first three innings but didn’t do much damage. They stranded five baserunners and managed just one hit over the final five innings.