DURHAM, NC (WBNG BINGHAMTON) Sophomore Jake Cryts fired five shutout innings and Binghamton baseball (1-2) plated seven runs on 12 hits to hold off host Duke (2-1) 7-6 in the series finale Sunday afternoon from Jack Coombs Field.
The Bearcats built a 4-0 lead and then added three crucial runs in the eighth inning to hold off the late-charging Blue Devils, who scored six runs in the final three frames to tighten the margin.
Cryts (W, 1-0) allowed just two hits in five scoreless innings. Sophomore Mike Bunal, the last of four BU pitchers, notched his first collegiate save with two shutout innings. Bunal struck out two and worked around two hits.
Senior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz and junior right fielder Zach Blanden combined for five hits and four RBI to pace the offense. Blanden provided a crucial hit when he delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the eighth inning to stretch a 4-3 lead. Bereszniewicz followed with a run-scoring infield single to make it 7-3. Those runs were pivotal as Duke came charging back in its final three at-bats.
After scoring three times in the home half of the seventh, the Blue Devils sent nine men to the plate in the eighth frame and scored three more runs on three hits. Aided by three walks amid a shrinking strike zone, the hosts pulled to within one and would’ve tied the game if not for a 7-5-2 putout at home. On a run-scoring single, Duke tried to score the tying run from second but a relay from left fielder Jake Thomas to third baseman David Schanz to catcher Nick Pancerella cut down the baserunner and preserved the lead. Bunal got a bases-loaded strikeout and fly out to strand three. In the ninth, Duke put the tying run on first with two outs before a grounder to short ended the game.
Bereszniewicz went 3-for-5 with two RBI and Blanden went 2-for-4 with a pair driven in. Senior shortstop John Howell went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Thomas and junior first baseman Brian Ruby each went 2-for-5 with an RBI. Howell hit a team-best .571 (4-for-7) in the three-game set.
The Bearcats opened the scoring with a run in the first. Blanden drew a leadoff walk and went to third on a Bereszniewicz single. Thomas then hit an RBI groundout to second, scoring Blanden with the game’s first run. Howell added an RBI single in the fourth to give BU a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, Blanden led off with a triple to right field and Bereszniewicz plated him with a double to left field. With two outs, Ruby singled through the right side to score Bereszniewicz and make it 4-0.
Binghamton outhit Duke 12-10 with the four BU pitchers giving up nothing but singles.
The Bearcats begin a four-game series at James Madison with a single game on Friday in Harrisonburg, Va.
Meanwhile, in Tampa, FL, Maggie Savilla hit the go-ahead, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, leading Pittsburgh (5-5) to an 11-10 win over Binghamton (2-3) in the final day of the South Florida Tournament on Sunday. In addition to the 21 total runs, the game featured 19 hits, 10 errors and six lead changes.
Binghamton appeared to take command of the game with four runs in the top of the sixth inning to go up 10-7. Sophomore designated hitter Griffin McIver delivered the key hit with a two-run single.
The Panthers pulled to within 10-9 in the bottom of the frame when Carissa Throckmorton tripled home a pair of runs. She scored one batter later on Savilla’s home run.
Sophomore catcher Lisa Cadogan drove in three runs while sophomore outfielder Sydney Harbaugh scored three times.
Senior second baseman Jessica Bump and freshman first baseman Bridget Hunt each had a pair of hits.
Binghamton left the tying run on base in the top of the seventh inning.
The Bearcats head to the UNLV Tournament Feb. 28-March 1.
NOTES: Cadogan finished the tournament a team-best .500 (6-for-12) while Hunt finished 6-for-14 (.429).
(Courtesy: Binghamton University)