Baseball Upsets Top-Seeded Binghamton
LOWELL, Mass. – The University at Albany baseball team (26-24) squared off against top overall seed Binghamton (30-12) Thursday after defeating Maine in the tournament's opening game yesterday. The game was originally moved up to 9:00 a.m. from its scheduled 11:00 a.m. start time due to impeding inclement weather, but still suffered through a rain delay that pushed first pitch to 12:45 p.m. When the game finally got underway, the Great Danes, facing recently crowned America East Pitcher of the Year Nick Gallagher, jumped out to a lead and held off a short Bearcats rally to win 7-3.
Before today's victory, UAlbany had lost nine of the last 10 games against the Bearcats. Additionally, the last time the Great Danes started the tournament 2-0 was in 2007, which was the year of their most recent championship.
UAlbany loaded the bases in the top of the first inning but came away with no runs. In the top of the third, the Danes loaded the bases again. Evan Harasta and Connor Powers began the inning working consecutive walks, and then Kevin Donati hit a bunt single. After Travis Collins flied out to deep shortstop, Matt Hinchy grounded out to second, allowing Harasta to score. Next, Kyle Sacks hit a two-RBI single up the middle, scoring Powers and Donati. Finally, Thul doubled to right center, scoring Sacks from second and giving the Great Danes a 4-0 lead.
After a scoreless fourth the Bearcats got on the board with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. UAlbany scored once in the top of the sixth to take a 5-3 lead. With one out, Patrick Lagravinese hit a single to center field. Harasta grounded out to second, advancing Lagravinese one base. Next, Powers hit a single down the left field line, scoring Powers from second.
UAlbany scored again in the top of the eighth. With two outs and runners on the corners, Donati hit a slow roller down the third base line. The Binghamton third baseman waited for the ball to roll foul but it never did and Donati reached first safely as Lagravinese scored from third.
The Great Danes scored one final run in the top of the ninth. With one out, Sacks drew a walk, but was forced out at second when Thul reached safely on a fielder's choice. Nick Kondo was hit by a pitch in the next at-bat, leading to an RBI single to left for Lagravinese that scored Thul from second. The 7-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth would prove to be the final score.
Lagravinese and Thul each had three hits to lead the team in Thursday's game. Harasta, Donati, and Sacks also had multi-hit games. Sacks led the team with two RBIs. Great Dane starter Kenny McLean lasted 4.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with one strikeout and three walks. Ray Weber (2-2) earned the victory, going 2.2 innings allowing two hits and striking out three. Dominic Savino earned his second save of the tournament, pitching a perfect final 2.0 innings.
UAlbany scored seven runs on 13 hits and committed two errors. Binghamton scored three runs on seven hits, committing one error.
“I think that today we played good defense again,” said head coach Jon Mueller. “Obviously it was a little tricky out there, it was windy and wet, but it's something all of the teams in this tournament are accustomed to at this point. We played good defense in tough conditions, and Ray was great, he keeps getting better and better and better. We were really trying to get it to a point where we could put Dom in a manageable situation and once again he was tremendous. Very, very happy with the effort from the guys today.”
Next, the Great Danes await the winner of the matchup between two-seed UMBC and three-seed Stony Brook. Regardless of opponent, the game is scheduled for Friday at 6:00 p.m.