The Binghamton baseball team advanced in the America East tournament with a gritty 2-1 victory over second seeded Albany Wednesday afternoon from Joe Nathan Field on the campus of Stony Brook.
In front of several MLB scouts, senior ace Mike Augliera fired a complete-game one-hitter and fanned seven batters to advance the Bearcats in the winner’s bracket, where they will meet the winner of the Stony Brook-Maine matchup at 3 p.m. on Thursday.
“I am proud of the way we competed today against a very good Albany team,” head coach Tim Sinicki said. “Mike (Augliera) was outstanding today and so was our defense. We pushed across a couple of runs, which was all Mike needed.”
BU got things going in the second inning in great part to being patient at the plate. Both freshman Jake Thomas and junior Mike Danaher worked walks to lead off the inning. After a sacrifice bunt from Jordon Smucker advanced the runners to second and third, the ninth batter, right fielder Zach Blanden plated fellow freshman Thomas with an RBI ground out to short.
Augliera responded well to the quick 1-0 cushion, striking out five of the next six batters he faced. Working quickly and efficiently, the senior ace caught three of the five players looking. With Augliera cruising, the Bearcats’ were unable to tack on any support. In innings three through six, Binghamton left five runners on base and were 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Moving to the bottom of the sixth, Albany had not registered a hit and only reached base on an error. That would change as the Great Danes picked up a lead-off walk and moved the runner over to second on a sac bunt. After a ground out to third, Albany capitalized with a two-out single to left, tying the game at one.
After Augliera induced a ground out to end the sixth, lead off batter Bill Bereszniewicz wrapped a single to right field. Sophomore John Howell moved the go-ahead runner over to second on a sac bunt . After a pop-up kept the runner at second, freshman standout Brian Ruby connected on a two-out single through the right side putting Binghamton ahead one.
With the 2-1 lead, the senior righty took care of business shutting down the Great Danes’ offense in the final three innings. In the seventh and eighth innings, Augliera made quick work of second seeded Albany generating six consecutive ground outs. In the ninth, with the score still at 2-1, Augliera got his seventh batter of the afternoon out on strikes, leaving Albany down to their last batter. The 27th and final out of the game came on a ground out to second as Augliera picked up his 6th win of the season and with it broke the school record for career wins, now his mark with 23. Augliera (6-7, 3.16 ERA), the nation’s leader in strikeout-to-walk ratio, has 83 strikeouts and just seven walks in 82.2 innings.
Binghamton’s two runs on seven hits were good enough to pick up their first America East tournament victory over Albany since 2009 when the Bearcats defeated them 16-6 in the championship game. Howell had a terrific day batting 4-of-4 on the afternoon and Ruby was the difference going 1-for-2, including his game-winning RBI single in the seventh.