Albany, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton baseball (26-22, 15-13 AE) split a doubleheader with host Albany (23-22-1, 16-13 AE) Friday afternoon with the Bearcats taking the opener in extra innings, 3-2 (9) and the Great Danes earning the split with a 5-4 win in the seven-inning nightcap.
The split, combined with a split in the Hartford-Stony Brook games, means that BU and Albany are assured the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds for the upcoming America East tournament, with the winner in Saturday’s rubber game taking the No. 2 spot. Regardless, the teams will now square off in the first game of the tournament next Wednesday in Lowell, Mass. It will be the second straight year the Bearcats and Great Danes will meet in the opening round.
In the opener, junior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz led off the ninth inning with a single, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scampered home with the deciding run on a two-out wild pitch. Sophomore reliever Greg Ostner (W, 2-1), worked around a single in the bottom of the ninth to secure the win. Ostner pitched 5.0 scoreless innings in a brilliant relief effort. He kept the Bearcats alive by inducing a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play in the eighth frame and scattered five hits in the longest outing of his career.
The Bearcats trailed 2-0 before scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth innings of the scheduled seven-inning game. Once the game extended to the ninth inning, Game 2 was re-set for seven innings.
Albany scored two unearned runs on just one hit in the first inning against senior starter Jake Lambert (4.0 IP, 3 hits, 0 ER), whose single and hit batter were compounded by an infield throwing error. But Lambert allowed nothing further before being removed in the fifth to keep fresh for the upcoming conference tournament.
After leaving four runners stranded in the first four innings, BU got on the board in the fifth. With two out, sophomore right fielder Zach Blanden and freshman third baseman David Schanz hit back-to-back singles and sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas plated Blanden with an RBI single up the middle. One inning later, the Bearcats evened the score with another two-out rally. Junior first baseman Brian Ruby singled with one out and went to second on a walk. With two outs, Bereszniewicz delivered an RBI single to left field, scoring Ruby.
Schanz led off the seventh with a single but was stuck on the bases - BU left 11 stranded in the game and 19 for the day.
In the eighth, Ostner allowed a leadoff single and the Great Danes had the winning run at second after a sacrifice bunt. But BU’s strategy of intentionally walking the next batter worked to perfection as Ostner got the ensuing double play to get out of the inning and set up the deciding run in BU’s next at-bat.
Bereszniewicz went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Blanden, Schanz and Ruby each went 2-for-4.
In Game 2, Albany snapped a 4-4 tie with the game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth inning - thanks to a leadoff walk, balk and RBI single. The game featured four lead changes.
Binghamton took a 1-0 lead on a Ruby RBI single in the third before Albany scored three runs (two unearned) on three hits in the bottom of the inning. The Bearcats got one back in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from senior catcher Mike Danaher, who was making his first appearance since March 30 after an injury sidelined him for 24 games. Then BU took a 4-3 lead with two runs in the fifth inning. Ruby ripped an RBI double down the left field line and later scored on an infield throwing error. But Albany countered with a run in the bottom of the fifth to tie it at 4 and won it an inning later.
Ruby went 2-for-4 with two RBI and senior first baseman Jordon Smucker went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Junior starter Jack Rogalla scattered seven hits and two earned runs in 5.0 innings. He struck out four and walked none in a no-decision. Sophomore reliever Mike Urbanski (L, 2-1) was saddled with his first loss of the season after working the sixth inning.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)