Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Senior right-hander Jake Lambert allowed just two hits over eight shutout innings and Binghamton baseball (18-13, 8-7 AE) broke a scoreless tie with a run in the eighth inning to beat visiting UMBC (9-19, 4-12 AE) 1-0 in an America East game Saturday afternoon from the Bearcats Sports Complex.
Lambert (4-1, 3.79 ERA) tied his career high with nine strikeouts and sophomore reliever Anthony Grillini got the final three outs to nail down the win. It was Grillini’s third save of the season.
UMBC starter Mac Gill retired 21 of 23 BU hitters through seven innings with only sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas reaching base. Thomas, who leads the nation in on-base percentage, had a single in the fourth and a double off the wall in the seventh but Gill retired everyone else before the Bearcats finally did their damage in the eighth. After a groundout to open the frame, senior first baseman Jordon Smucker laced a sinking shot to right field that slipped under the glove of the Retrievers’ fielder and rolled to the wall. Smucker, who had entered the game in the fifth inning, scampered around to third. A groundout on the next play, however, kept Smucker at third. Junior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz hit a soft grounder between the pitcher’s mound and first and beat the throw to the bag, diving in head-first in a tight play. Smucker scored on the RBI single for the game’s lone run. The Bearcats added a single and collected three hits in the inning after managing just two hits over the first seven innings.
Grillini entered in the ninth and struck out first two batters before Thomas ended the game with a diving catch in left field.
Thomas went 2-for-3, raising his league-leading average to .389 and his on-base mark to .541.
Lambert put down the side in order in the second, fifth, sixth and eighth innings. He worked around a leadoff single in the third and then escaped a two-on jam in the fourth when junior second baseman Daniel Nevares dove to field a hard grounder and threw out the hitter on a great play to end the threat. Lambert also stranded a runner at second in the seventh with an inning-ending strikeout.
The teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at noon.
Binghamton improved to 36-5 all-time against UMBC… With the win, BU moved into second place in the America East standings. Maine (12-3) sits atop the standings, followed by Albany (9-7), BU (8-7), Hartford (8-8), Stony Brook (6-10) and UMBC (4-12).