Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Junior second baseman Daniel Nevares went 2-for-3 with a double and a three-run home run and Binghamton baseball (24-19, 13-10 AE) completed a three-game sweep of visiting Hartford (14-31, 11-13 AE) with an 8-2 win Sunday afternoon at the Bearcats Sports Complex. The win moved BU to within a half-game of second-place Albany in the America East standings and kept the Bearcats 2.5 games clear of fifth place as teams battle for a top-4 playoff position in the final two weeks of the regular season.
Up 2-0, Nevares smoked an RBI double to the wall in left center to key a two-run sixth inning and then delivered his first homer of the season one inning later. With one out and runners on second and third, Nevares jumped on a 1-0 pitch and sent it into BU’s bullpen beyond the left field wall, extending the Bearcats’ lead to 8-0.
Hartford tallied two runs in the ninth to complete the scoring.
Senior right-hander Jay Lynch (5-4, 2.48 ERA) stifled the Hawks over eight shutout innings before departing in the ninth. Lynch wound up scattering seven hits and two runs and struck out five. He didn’t walk a batter. Sophomore Mike Urbanski got the final three outs.
Hartford threatened to go ahead in the first inning when the visitors hit Lynch’s first offering for a single and moved the runner to second on a sacrifice. But on the ensuing single to center, junior outfielder Bill Bereszniewicz threw out the runner at the plate and Lynch stranded the remaining runner with a fly out.
Binghamton struck for a run in the second on a leadoff double to the wall in left center by junior DH Shaun McGraw and an RBI single just inside the bag at first by junior first baseman Brian Ruby. In the fourth, BU doubled its lead with two hits and two walks. Nevares walked and McGraw laced a single to right center. Ruby walked to load the bases with one out and junior shortstop John Howell hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Nevares and making it 2-0.
Lynch worked out of a jam in the sixth when Hartford put together back-to-back singles with one out . But Lynch got an infield pop-up and a foul pop-up to third to strand two and keep the shutout.
In the sixth, sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas led off with his second hit of the game and Nevares plated him with his team-high 16th double of the season. After McGraw’s infield single, Ruby ripped a shot up the middle to score Nevares and make it 4-0.
Bereszniewicz (single) and sophomore right fielder Zach Blanden (walk) opened the seventh by getting on base and freshman third baseman David Schanz dropped down a sacrifice fly, that was promptly thrown away at first by the Hawks pitcher, allowing BU’s fifth run to score. After an out, Nevares then sent his shot over the wall to cap the Bearcats’ outburst. Nevares then added a defensive gem to his game highlights. In the Hartford eighth, Nevares ranged up the middle to snare a grounder, spun and fired to first for the putout.
Binghamton outhit Hartford 11-7.
McGraw went 3-for-4 and Ruby went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI to compliment Nevares’ big day.
Binghamton will complete its 17-game homestand with a big three-game weekend series against first-place Maine next Saturday and Sunday. The teams will open with a twinbill Saturday at noon.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)