Release: May 31, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Fourth-seeded Binghamton (30-22) continued to impress with its offensive spunk but top-seeded East Carolina (44-18) rallied against BU's exhausted pitching staff and eliminated the Bearcats 16-9 in an NCAA Regional game Sunday afternoon from Clark-LeClair Stadium. Playing the team's third game in 28 hours, BU grabbed a 7-3 lead midway through before the Pirates exploded for eight decisive runs off BU's depleted bullpen in the fifth inning.
With four runs in the third and three more in the fourth, the Bearcats built a 7-3 lead before ECU struck in the top of the fifth. The Pirates scored half of their runs in the inning after BU didn't turn what would've been an inning-ending double play. East Carolina batted around, hit two home runs and chased two Bearcats relievers in the big frame.
"It was a wonderful experience for us," head coach Tim Sinicki said of his team's first NCAA regional appearance. "Our team competed very hard as we've done all season long. We knew it would be an uphill battle with our pitching today but our guys all gave it everything they had and I'm proud of each one of them. East Carolina ran a first class regional and we hope this is the first of many trips to the NCAAs for our program."
The Bearcats looked sharp early and overcame a 2-0 hole with four runs in the third inning. The team collected five hits and scored three runs with two out, continuing their clutch hitting. Ciocchi hit an 0-2 pitch up the middle to score two runs, Bregartner produced an RBI single and sophomore left fielder Corey Taylor scored a run with a groundout. The RBI was Taylor's school-record 56th, breaking the old mark of 55 set by former America East Player of the Year Mathieu Bergeron in 2005.
Ciocchi delivered another clutch hit in the fourth inning, clearing the bases with a two-out, two-strike double down the right field line, making the score 7-3. With a vocal ECU crowd roaring for a strikeout, Ciocchi instead ripped a 2-2 pitch over the first baseman's head.
In just his third collegiate start, freshman Walker McKinven overcame a shaky first inning, striking out four and scattering six hits and three runs in 3 1/3 innings. Sophomore Morgan Smith replaced McKinven in the fourth and stranded the tying run on second with a groundout and fly out. But the Pirates got to Smith and lefty reliever James Giulietti in the pivotal fifth. After utilizing the team's top four starters on Saturday, Binghamton used five pitchers in piecemeal fashion on Sunday, and ECU rapped 19 hits and took advantage of three Bearcat errors and five hit batsmen.
The teams traded two runs apiece in the seventh inning with Bregartner hitting his third home run of the season - a 3-2 pitch that sailed over the right field wall. The Pirates then added one run in the eighth and two in the ninth for the final margin.
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