edged by East Tennessee State 3-2
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn.--A leadoff homerun by the Buccaneers' Andy Howdeshell in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 2-2 deadlock, and East Tennessee State (4-2) defeated Binghamton (1-2) in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon at Cardinal Park.
The Bearcats had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the game, but East Tennessee rallied each time. Binghamton junior infielder Jay Balback hit a one-out, solo homerun in the top of the first inning to open the scoring. The Buccaneers got on the board in the bottom of the second inning, when outfielder Bo Calloway nearly single-handedly manufactured a run. Calloway led off the frame with a single. After advancing to second base on a sacrifice bunt, Calloway stole third, and scored when the throw to third base went astray.
The game remained tied at 1-1 until the sixth inning, when Binghamton senior outfielder Tony Berube (Vestal, N.Y.) led off with a single and advanced to second when Balback drew a walk. After freshman catcher John Hark laid down a sacrifice bunt, junior outfielder T.J. Kowalchuk (Stormville, N.Y.) lined out to second, allowing Berube to score.
The Bearcats managed just one baserunner over the final three innings, however, and East Tennessee tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, setting up Howdeshell's home run in the eighth. Third baseman Shane Byrne walked leading off the sixth and went to second on a wild pitch. After a sacrifice bunt, Calloway lined out to center field, bringing home Byrne with the tying run.
After the two teams combined for 38 runs in a doubleheader split on Saturday, pitching took over on Sunday, as there were just nine hits in the game. Binghamton was limited to four hits and batted just .227 in the three-game set.
Senior pitcher Jacob Thiel (San Bruno, Calif.) made the start for the Bearcats and allowed just four hits and a pair of unearned runs in six innings. Thiel walked two, struck out two and allowed just four balls out of the infield.
The season-opening series marked the first three of 24 straight games Binghamton will play on the road before opening the home portion of the schedule in April. Next weekend the Bearcats will play a three-game series at the University of Maryland. The teams will play single, nine-inning games on Friday at 2:30, and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
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