Release: May 15, 2009
VESTAL, N.Y. -- Despite surrendering 10 runs in the ninth inning to lose the nightcap, Binghamton baseball (26-18, 13-5 America East) gained a decisive split with visiting Vermont (20-29, 12-10 AE) Friday afternoon at Varsity Field. The Bearcats won the opener 10-9 before a stunning Catamounts' comeback salvaged the split in game two, 11-8.
The split combined with Hartford's sweep of Albany gave Binghamton its third consecutive America East regular season title. The Bearcats will host the upcoming four-team tournament at nearby Union-Endicott High School.
The Catamounts kept their playoff hopes alive with an improbable comeback in their final at-bat. Vermont trailed 8-1 entering the ninth inning after BU starter Murphy Smith shut down the visitors on four hits over eight innings. But BU's bullpen denied Smith his team-record eighth win by giving up 10 runs on six hits with three walks and an error. Shortstop Matt Duffy belted a two-out three-run home run for the winning margin.
Binghamton mounted 15 hits and scored in five straight innings but stranded 10 runners. Junior second baseman Jeff Abrams went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. Senior third baseman Kyle Klee and freshman first baseman Dave Ciocchi had three hits and an RBI apiece. Sophomore right fielder Peter Bregartner went 2-for-2 with an RBI.
In the opener, junior left fielder Joe Charron tied the game with a strong slide in the sixth inning and then drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh to score the winning run. With the score tied at 9-9, junior second baseman Jim Calderone led off with a single through the right side. After sophomore center fielder Henry Dunn advanced Calderone to second with a sacrifice bunt, Vermont pitchers issued back-to-back walks to load the bases and then Charron was walked on four pitches to end the game.
The game featured six lead changes, 28 combined hits and four errors. The Bearcats stranded nine but forged the final tie when sophomore catcher C.J. Lukaszewski ripped a two-out single to left and Charron eluded the tag at the plate with a hand-swipe.
Charron went 2-for-3 with two RBI and three runs scored. Calderone was 3-for-4 with three runs scored. Sophomore catcher Jeff Skelhorne-Gross went 2-for-2 with three RBI and senior third baseman Kyle Klee was 2-for-4 with a two-run home run and three RBI. Klee belted a bomb over the center field fence in the fourth inning to tie the game at 7-7 and sophomore right fielder Corey Taylor followed with his 12th home run of the season to give BU an 8-7 lead.
But Vermont reclaimed the lead with a two-run shot of its own in the sixth inning.
Senior closer Greg Lane (4-1) earned the win with one scoreless inning of relief.
The teams conclude the regular season with a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.
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