Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Visiting Canisius (29-10) led off the 11th inning with a double and run-scoring triple and the Golden Griffins held off Binghamton (20-15) 7-6 in an extra-inning non-conference game Thursday afternoon from the Bearcats Sports Complex.
Binghamton sent the game to extra innings with three runs in the bottom of the ninth but left the winning run stranded 90 feet away with one out and compiled 11 left on base in the one-run loss.
Trailing 6-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas, the nation’s leader in on-base percentage, delivered a two-run double down the right field line to cut BU’s deficit to 6-5. With runners on second and third and one out, the Canisius closer threw wild as he was tossing the first intentional ball to junior DH Shaun McGraw, who was going to be walked to set up a force. The throw sailed off the catcher’s glove and toward the backstop, bringing in freshman third baseman David Schanz with the tying run. But BU stranded two and then left another runner stuck in both the 10th and 11th frames.
Needing another rally in the 11th, Thomas drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. But a strikeout and line-out to third ended the threat and the game.
Freshman Tsuyoshi Horibata was saddled with the loss, despite going three solid innings as BU’s fourth pitcher of the game. Horibata scattered three hits and one run. After allowing the run on successive first-pitch hits, he made two outstanding fielding plays to hold the score at 7-6. Earlier, classmate Mike Bunal made his collegiate pitching debut, tossing two scoreless innings. Bunal, who began the season as an outfielder, notched his first strikeout, stranding a runner at third to end the seventh inning.
The Golden Griffins, who have won nine straight, snapped a 1-1 tie with five runs on six hits in the fifth inning. The second hit was a hard shot that caromed off BU starter Jed Lemen, forcing his removal from the game. Canisius sent nine men to the plate and a pair of two-run hits extended their cushion.
The Bearcats got single runs in each of the sixth and seventh innings to pull closer, setting the stage for the ninth-inning rally.
McGraw went 2-for-4 and belted his third home run of the season (second in last three games) to lead off the second inning. The blast on a 1-1 offering cleared the wall in left field and gave him a share of the team lead in round-trippers. He came within a few feet of bringing home the tying run in the 11th when his sharp liner was caught by the Canisius third baseman to end the game.
Thomas had two RBI - his team-high 29th and 30th - and reached base in three of six plate appearances, to keep his NCAA-best on-base percentage at .547. He was denied a two-run home run in the third inning when Canisius right fielder Ryan Coppinger leaped at the wall to snare a deep Thomas shot that was headed into the visitor’s bullpen. Thomas also made a diving catch in left field to save a run in the sixth inning.
Schanz went 2-for-5 with an RBI and junior catcher Scott Musin and junior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz each went 2-for-5.
The Bearcats now focus on a big three-game home weekend series with America East rival Stony Brook. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon (7- then 9-inning games) and finish with a single game Sunday at noon. Binghamton (9-8) currently sits in third place in the conference standings, just a half-game out of second. Stony Brook is in fifth place.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)