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Deeply entrenched at Binghamton as its longest-tenured head coach, Tim Sinicki begins his 22nd season at the helm of a 2014 Bearcats’ program that has become one of the most consistently successful programs in the Northeast. His squad is the reigning America East champions and the league’s only program to finish in the conference top-3 in each of the last seven years.
Sinicki has been named the America East Coach of the Year four times (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) as his Bearcats have continued their dominance in league play. Over the last 10 years, BU has had the fewest conference losses of any team in the America East, posting a win percentage of 62%. Sinicki’s program has notched 30 or more wins three times and his teams have advanced to the postseason eight times in the last nine years.
In 2013, BU captured its second America East postseason title and advanced to the NCAA Regional for the second time in the last five years. The Bearcats won 30 games, landed five on the all-conference team and garnered a league-high four all-academic honorees. After defeating Maine twice and outscoring opponents 24-8 during the conference championship, BU advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Down in Raleigh, the Bearcats held their own against two nationally-ranked opponents, compiling 18 hits and recording 16 pitching strikeouts in a pair of narrow defeats to No. 7 NC State and No. 23 Ole Miss. Individual highlights were aplenty as Sinicki’s squad featured a first-team all-region selection (OF Jake Thomas), the America East tournament MVP (RHP Jake Lambert) and an NCAA Regional all-tournament selection (OF Zach Blanden).
Despite playing every game on the road in 2012 as the team’s home facility was being refurbished, BU placed third in the conference and advanced to the America East tournament. Two more Sinicki pitching proteges - Mike Augliera and Lee Sosa - garnered first team all-conference honors and were taken in the MLB Draft. Augliera went in the fifth round - the highest pick in program history. Meanwhile, up in Minneapolis, another Sinicki pitching standout Scott Diamond made headlines with a 12-win season for the Twins. In all, Sinicki has produced 16 Major League Baseball draft picks and pro signees in the last eight years. Headed by Minnesota starter Diamond, three former Bearcats are playing professionally for MLB affiliates.
In 2010, BU won its fourth straight America East regular season title - the second-longest streak in conference history. The team’s 21-3 league record represented the third-highest win percentage (.875) in 18 years of America East annals and the three losses were the fewest of any team in 12 years. The Bearcats won a school-record 31 games and extended their NCAA record by improving the team’s win total for a seventh consecutive season. The team then earned a final regional ranking of No. 6 (out of 68) in the PING! Northeast Rankings.
After guiding BU to its third straight America East regular season championship in 2009, Sinicki engineered an historic postseason run that included the school’s first-ever baseball conference crown, NCAA appearance and NCAA victory.
The Bearcats’ school-record 30th victory was memorable — an 11-6 win over George Mason in the NCAA Regional. The Patriots had entered the postseason with the second-highest win percentage of any team in the country (78%) and BU’s victory was just the third time in 14 years that the America East champion had produced an NCAA victory.
In seven of the last nine seasons, a Binghamton player has been chosen for one of the major awards (Player, Pitcher, or Rookie of the Year, Tournament MVP). Most recently in 2010, ace James Giulietti earned co-Pitcher of the Year honors and junior outfielder Corey Taylor was selected as Player of the Year.
Strong pitching has always been a staple of Sinicki-coached teams. Three times since 2006 BU has produced the America East Pitcher of the Year (Zach Groh 2006, Murphy Smith 2009, James Giulietti 2010). In addition, 15 pitchers have been named all-conference in that span.
Diamond capped a rapid run through the minor leagues with a mid-summer call-up to the Minnesota Twins in 2011. Diamond made seven starts for the Twins and recorded his milestone first MLB win with six strong innings against the Chicago White Sox on August 31. In 2012, he led the club in wins, ERA and strikeouts and was named the organization’s Pitcher and Rookie of the Year. Diamond was enshrined into Binghamton’s Hall of Fame in 2013.
Smith was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the 13th round of the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft and has advanced to the team’s Double-A level.
In addition to his team’s on-the-field success, Sinicki’s program has had notable achievement in the classroom and community.
Binghamton has held the highest grade-point average of any team in the America East six times and the program has churned out scholar-athletes at a rapid rate. Last spring, 16 players were named to the America East Honor Roll with eight of those earning Commissioner’s List distinction for carrying a 3.5 or higher grade-point average.
Additionally, 21 players have been chosen to the America East Baseball All-Academic Team in the last eight years and 13 have been inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society.
When devastating flooding hit the Binghamton region in fall 2011, BU baseball players stepped up and assisted community members whose homes and property had been damaged. The program also gives back to local Little Leagues and schoolchildren with camps, clinics and volunteer work throughout the year.
Sinicki began his collegiate playing career as a freshman all-conference pitcher at Binghamton in 1985. One year later, he was named to the All-Region III team while pitching at nearby Broome Community College, where he was tabbed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Major League Baseball amateur draft.
He finished his playing career at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., where the Catamounts captured back-to-back Southern Conference titles and competed in the NCAA Division I Championship both seasons. In two seasons, Sinicki compiled 15 wins, including a team-leading nine as a senior.
He graduated from Western Carolina in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Sinicki began as a three-sport high school standout at Binghamton-area Johnson City High and was inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame in 2010. He lettered in baseball, football and basketball, steering the baseball team to a pair of divisional titles and the football program to sectional titles and top-10 state rankings in each of his final two seasons.
Tim resides in Vestal with his wife, Tina, and their children Allison, Tanner and Ashley.
Ryan Hurba enters his ninth season as hitting coach and recruiting coordinator for the Bearcats in 2014. During that time, Hurba has built a reputation as an elite recruiter and instructor and his Bearcats have blossomed at the plate under his tutelage.
In 2013, outfielder Jake Thomas led the conference in hitting (.371), slugging (.522), on-base percentage (.517) and walks (45) and his on-base percentage was the second-highest in the nation. Three field-position players earned first team all-conference honors with another selected to the all-rookie squad.
In 2012, hot-hitting infielder Brian Ruby finished the regular season with a .402 average and ranked 56th in the entire country in average.
In 2011, freshman center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz became the third Bearcat in as many years to earn Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors. Another four hitters received America East all-conference laurels, headed by senior first team selection Peter Bregartner, who led the AE in hitting (.405) and RBI (.96/game) in league play.
En route to the team’s record-breaking season in 2010, Hurba’s hitters produced a school-record .333 team batting average - the second straight record-breaking season in that category. That mark was tops in the America East and ranked 26th (out of 292) in the nation. In addition, BU ranked 44th in the country in runs per game, putting up more than 8 tallies per game. The Bearcats had three of the top four hitters in the conference and five of the top 10, highlighted by Player of the Year Corey Taylor.
Binghamton has produced two America East Players of the Year (Brendan Hitchcock, 2007, Corey Taylor, 2010) and two more Rookies of the Year (Peter Bregartner, 2008, Dave Ciocchi, 2009) during Hurba’s tenure.
Two Hurba disciples made it to the professional ranks in 2010 - center fielder Henry Dunn and second baseman Jim Calderone. Dunn was selected by the Cleveland Indians in the Major League Draft and Calderone signed a contract with Windy City in the Class A Frontier League.
Under Hurba’s tutelage, BU broke dozens of offensive team records in its 2009 championship season. The Bearcats set new marks for team batting average (.320), hits (548), runs (357), RBI (321) and triples (18). The team average of .320 was 26 points higher than the record set by the 2005 squad and a dramatic one-year improvement of 38 points.
Hurba came to Binghamton from Division II powerhouse Mount Olive College (N.C.) (2008 Division II National Champions), where he served as an assistant for two years. While at Mount Olive he coached four All-Americans and four future professional players. Three of those players signed as free agents, while one was an MLB draft pick.
Hurba has also served as an assistant at Brevard Community College. There Hurba worked with head coach Ernie Rosseau, a former minor league hitting coordinator with the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. Their Brevard team advanced to the Florida State Junior College tournament, finishing fourth in the state. Hurba coached five Brevard players who were drafted by MLB teams.
Prior to heading into college coaching Hurba spent four years as the head coach at the oldest overnight baseball camp in the country, the Sho-Me Baseball Camp (Branson, MO). There he oversaw the entire on field summer program as well as their satellite camps in the off season.
As an undergraduate player, he earned All-America honors at Oswego State in 1996. Hurba was a three-time all-region selection, three-time all conference selection and two-time ECAC all-star. In 2001, he was inducted into Oswego’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
He has also served as an associate scout with the Milwaukee Brewers and was head coach and league director of the Dunwoody Senior Baseball Developmental League in Georgia.
Hurba’s sports affinity began in the Southern Tier, where he was a three-sport athlete at Bainbridge-Guilford High School. There, he earned All-Susquenango League honors in both baseball and football and also won more than 120 career matches on the wrestling mat.
Ryan resides in Endwell, NY with his wife Carrie, and their daughter Kaylee and son T.J.
Longtime area high school coach Ed Folli enters his eighth season as an assistant in 2014.
Folli offers three decades of baseball experience to the program, having achieved regional and state acclaim as head coach for nearby Union-Endicott High School. He also has been recognized for coaching and mentoring MLB all-star and current Oakland Athletics closer Jim Johnson during Johnson’s scholastic career.
In 17 seasons as head coach of the Tigers, Folli captured eight sectional, three regional and two state championships while amassing a 275-93 overall record.
The two-time state coach of the year is the winningest baseball coach in school history. He also served as an assistant football coach for a U-E program that won two state titles.
He will be inducted into the Section 4 Hall of Fame on March 6.
Folli was a standout player for Springfield College before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1973. He was a member of three nationally-ranked teams, earned All-New England honors and was named to the school’s All-Decade Team (1970-79).
He has also served as the batting practice pitcher with the Double-A Binghamton Mets for the past two seasons
Ed and his wife Wendie have two sets of twins; E.J. and Mike and Megan and Ty.
Former pitching standout Dustin Johnson begins his third season with the Bearcats’ program in 2014.
His work with the BU pitching staff has resulted in five all-conference selections (three first-team) and numerous statistical achievements in the last two seasons. Binghamton’s 2012 unit ranked seventh in the NCAA in walks per game (2.31) and lowered its ERA by more than a run (to 4.21). Last spring, Johnson and the staff continued to shrink the ERA, knocking it down to a school-record 3.73. Opponents hit just .262 - another program record - and BU ranked among the nation’s top teams in walks per game (24th, 2.74/game) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (36th, 2.43).
Prior to coming to Binghamton, Johnson spent two seasons at Bloomsburg University, helping guide the Division II Huskies to the program’s first postseason playoff berth in 14 seasons last spring. With Johnson as the team’s pitching coach and recruiting coordinator, Bloomsburg posted its highest win total (23) in nine seasons. Under his tutelage, the Huskies pitching staff lowered its team earned run average by nearly three runs per game in the last two seasons. The 2011 squad held down a 4.89 team ERA, the lowest figure in nine years. Additionally, the 2010 staff set the highest strikeout mark in eight seasons (258).
He coached seven all-conference players in 2011, including a pitcher that was selected as Freshman of the Year in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). Johnson’s first recruiting class of pitchers went 14-5 with a 4.18 ERA in 2011.
A former standout on the mound, Johnson played three years at Bloomsburg (2006-08) after transferring from Volunteer State in Tennessee. He was the ace of the staff in 2006 and 2007, leading the team in wins, strikeouts, inning pitched and complete games during that two-year span.
He graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and earned his master’s degree in instructional technology in 2010 from Bloomsburg.