Late-inning heroics lift baseball team
April 1, 2013Tweet
1Binghamton baseball (14-8, 5-3 AE) did all its scoring in three innings and some late-inning dramatics resulted in a doubleheader sweep of host Hartford (3-18, 3-5 AE), 3-2 (8 inn.) and 3-1 from Fiondella Field on March 29. The Bearcats raised their all-time mark to 32-7 against the Hawks and have now won 10 of their last 14 games. Binghamton won both games in its final at-bat - the fifth and sixth times the team has done so this spring.
Binghamton received stellar pitching from starters Jake Lambert and Jack Rogalla and despite being held scoreless for 14 of the 17 innings, the Bearcats came through with the game on the line in each contest.
In the opener, the Bearcats went to extra innings before earning the win. Junior shortstop John Howell led off the eighth inning with a double. He moved to third on a balk and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas.
The tiebreaking run gave a much-deserved win to Lambert, who pitched a gem. Lambert (3-0) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and wound up scattering five hits and two runs in 7.1 innings. Lambert fanned nine and didn’t walk a batter.
Binghamton snapped a scoreless tie with two runs in the seventh - only to see Hartford rally for two runs in its half of the frame to force extras. In Binghamton’s at-bat, junior third baseman Brian Ruby and junior second baseman Daniel Nevares hit back-to-back singles to open the inning. They moved up to second and third on a wild pitch and after senior first baseman Jordon Smucker was intentionally walked, senior catcher Mike Danaher came through with a two-run single up the middle. A rare 5-2-6 double play ended the Bearcats’ threat. Lambert began the seventh but Hartford pieced together two singles, a sacrifice bunt and two more base hits to even the game at 2-2. Lambert struck out the final hitter with two runners on to keep the game going. In the Hartford eighth, Lambert gave way to sophomore closer Mike Kaufman, who entered with the tying run on first. Kaufman promptly picked him off and two batters later, he struck out the final Hawks hitter to end the game. It was his third save of the season.
Ruby and Nevares each went 2-for-4 and scored a run.
In the nightcap, Rogalla did his job and limited Hartford to one run on four hits over 7.0 innings. Rogalla, who lowered his season ERA to 2.64, struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. But Rogalla looked like he would a hard-luck loser as Binghamton trailed 1-0 entering the ninth inning. But the Bearcats pushed across three runs on one hit and an error. Nevares singled to open the inning and after a Smucker walk, freshman Reed Gamache put a ball in play that was thrown away by the Hartford pitcher, bringing two runs around to score. After a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Nick Pancerella, senior Bijan Mangouri delivered a sacrifice fly to center field for the third run.
Sophomore reliever Anthony Grillini (2-0) pitched the final two scoreless innings for the win. Grillini allowed a leadoff double in the ninth but retired the next three hitters to close out the game.
On March 30, the Bearcats were limited to three hits and struck out a season-high 15 times in a 4-3 loss to Hartford. Senior starter Jay Lynch went 6 innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on four hits. Lynch struck out six and walked two. Sophomore Mike Urbanski tossed two innings of hitless relief.