Bearcats split with Lafayette on second day of home-and-home series

Binghamton 5, Lafayette 4 (9)
Lafayette 9, Binghamton 4

VESTAL, N.Y.--The Bearcats (9-32-1) rode a strong pitching performance from starting pitcher Mike Weglinski (Hyde Park, N.Y./FD Roosevelt) and a game-winning sacrifice fly from sophomore catcher Chris Darling (Whitesboro, N.Y.) to a 5-4 extra-inning victory at West Gym Field in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader with visiting Lafayette (15-24). The Leopards took the second game 9-4.

In the opener, Binghamton built a 4-0 lead with a pair of runs in the second and fifth innings. Senior outfielder Tom Cummings (Oneida, N.Y./Vernon-Verona-Sherrill) hit a solo home run with two out in the second inning, and senior outfielder Tony Berube (Vestal, N.Y.) added an RBI single. Junior third baseman Jay Balback (Millsboro, Del./Indiana Inst. of Tech.) hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to extend the lead.

Weglinski cruised into the seventh inning with a four-hit shutout before the Leopards rallied to tie the game. With one out and a runner on first, freshman catcher Matt Skellan (Media, Pa./Malvern Prep) had what may have been the key at bat in the inning, working out an 11-pitch walk. Freshman infielder Tripp Williams (Redmond, Wash./Bellevue) followed with an RBI single, and one out later, junior infielder Jeff Rodgers (Phoenix, Md./Loyola Blakefield) cut the lead to 4-2 with a double. Junior right fielder Adam Rosenberg (Ocean Grove, N.J./Neptune) followed with a double to clear the bases and knot the game at 4-4.

Binghamton broke through with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sophomore outfielder David Lewin (North White Plains, N.Y./Valhalla) led off with a single and junior outfielder T.J. Kowalchuk (Stormville, N.Y./Carmel) followed with an infield hit. After both runners advanced on an error, Darling followed with the game-winning sacrifice fly. Junior pitcher JD Brink (Matamoras, Pa./Cecil CC) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief for his third win of the season. Weglinski wound up going 6 2/3 innings, striking out five while walking just two. He allowed just four balls out of the infield in the first six innings and retired 11 in a row at one point.

In the second game, Lafayette jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the top of the first inning. Junior infielder Craig Alexander (Fairport, N.Y.) hit an RBI double and freshman outfielder Sean Lesser (Chantilly, Va.) produced a two-run single.

The Bearcats would rally to tie the game at 3-3, scoring a pair of runs in the first on Balback's first of two homers in the game. Cummings then single-handedly manufactured a run in the bottom of the second. After leading off with a walk, he eventually stole second base. With two out in the inning, he scored from second on a wild pitch that went all the way to the backstop.

The Leopards, however, scored a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings to build a 7-3 lead, and never looked back. Senior outfielder Russ Giglio (Old Forge, Pa.) hit a two-run home run in the third, while junior infielder Jason Boyd (Littlestown, Pa.) had an RBI double and sophomore infielder Adam Bucci (Trumbull, Conn./St. Luke's) an RBI single in the fourth.

Balback provided the Bearcats final run in the bottom of the fifth inning, hitting his second home run of the game and third of the day. His output today gives him 10 homers on the season, which ties the single-season school record set by Tim Macko in 2001.

Balback wound up going 4-for-8 on the afternoon, scoring three runs while driving in five. Junior second baseman Matt Caputo (Pine Bush, N.Y.) was 2-for-3 in the opener, and Berube finished 2-for-4 with an RBI. After hitting a home run at Lafayette yesterday for his first hit of the season, Cummings homered again today and drew three walks in the second game.

The Bearcats will travel to Le Moyne on Tuesday for a 4 p.m. non-conference contest with the Dolphins. Le Moyne came to East Gym Field last Thursday and defeated Binghamton 13-8 in a rain-shortened game. Next weekend Binghamton will close out the home portion of its schedule, hosing conference foe Vermont in a four-game series.

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