Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Sophomore outfielder Zach Blanden hit a two-run home run and went 4-for-4 and Binghamton baseball (20-14) rallied from a 4-0 hole to beat visiting Cornell 6-5 Tuesday afternoon from the Bearcats Sports Complex.
Facing the early four-run deficit, Blanden cut it in half with his blast over the left field wall in the third inning. Junior second baseman Daniel Nevares then drove in the tying and winning runs with a two-run double in the fifth inning, giving BU a win over its nearest Division I rival, which had as many errors as hits (4).
Five Bearcats pitchers combined to limit the Big Red (21-15) to four hits and kept Cornell off the board over the final four innings to preserve the one-run margin.
Sophomore Anthony Grillini, BU’s third pitcher of the day, tossed two innings and didn’t allow an earned run. Grillini (3-0) struck out one and only gave up one hit in earning the win. He followed freshman Jake Cryts, who tossed two hitless and scoreless innings. Sophomore Greg Ostner (2Ks) followed with two scoreless innings of his own before classmate Mike Urbanski picked up the save with a clean ninth frame.
Cornell jumped ahead with four runs in the second inning - three unearned. The big blow was a three-run home run on the visitor’s only hit of the inning. Sophomore starter Mike Kaufman recovered to strike out three straight Big Red hitters but departed in a 4-0 hole.
Binghamton hit into double plays in each of the first two innings before clicking in the third. After junior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz led off with a walk, Blanden sent a 1-0 offering over the left field wall for his second round-tripper of the season.
The Big Red bumped their cushion to 5-2 with an unearned run in the top of the fifth but opened the door with some loose fielding in the bottom of the inning. The Bearcats took advantage of two errors to plate four runs. Bereszniewicz and Blanden hit back-to-back singles with one out and then ground balls by freshman third baseman David Schanz and sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas resulted in Cornell throwing errors that kept BU’s rally alive. Thomas drove in a run with a sharply-hit ball and after junior DH Shaun McGraw reached on a single to deep short, Nevares sent a shot to the right field corner to plate Schanz and Thomas and give Binghamton the 6-5 lead.
Cornell threatened against Urbanski in the ninth, using a single and a hit batter to move the tying run to third and the go-ahead run to second. But Urbanski got a groundout to second and a liner to Thomas in left to end the game.
Blanden went 4-for-4 with two RBI, Bereszniewicz went 2-for-3 and Nevares collected the pair of RBIs. Thomas entered the game leading the entire nation in on-base percentage (.550) and he reached base in two of four appearances (walk, HP) while adding to his team-leading RBI total (28).
Binghamton continues its seven-games-in-nine-days stretch on Wednesday when Canisius comes to town for a 4 p.m. start.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)