Immediate Release: May 22, 2004
The game one shutout was Stony Brook's second straight over a Binghamton team that had gone the season's first 40 games without being blanked. On Saturday, BU was beaten 10-0 to begin the three-game series in which it needed to win twice to clinch a playoff berth. Averaging nearly seven runs per contest entering the weekend, BU's offense was stifled for 16 straight innings - the first time the team has suffered back-to-back shutouts since the final two games of the 2002 season when BU dropped a pair to Maine.
In the opener, Binghamton received an outstanding pitching performance from freshman Zach Groh (Reading, Pa.), who tossed a two-hitter and allowed just one earned run in six innings. But the Seawolves scored single runs in the first and xxth innings, and all the Bearcats could muster at the plate were singles in the second and sixth innings.
In game two, both sides made liberal lineup changes, and the Bearcats were the better for it, battering around Stony Brook pitching for 16 runs on 18 hits. Binghamton built a 4-1 lead after three innings and scored in seven of the nine innings. Senior third baseman Jay Balback (Millsboro, Del.) went 3-for-4 with a solo home run and four RBI. Balback's fourth-inning blast extended his school records for home runs in a season (14) and career (27). Also breaking through was senior right fielder T.J. Kowalchuk (Stormville, N.Y.), who ripped a two-run shot - his eighth of the season and 22nd career round-tripper. Kowalchuk wound up 3-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored. Junior first baseman Jamie Boyer (Lancaster, Pa.) was 3-for-5 with 3 RBI.
The offensive onslaught made a winner out of senior Andy Hutchings (Binghamton, N.Y.), who allowed one earned run in five innings of work. Hutchings struck out three in recording his first win of the season.
Despite the disappointing ending, Binghamton still enjoyed a substantial improvement from the 2003 campaign. The Bearcats, under 12th-year head coach Tim Sinicki, more than doubled their win total from last spring.
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