Baseball To Host Binghamton For Final Conference Series And Senior Day

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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The University at Albany baseball team will close its regular season slate this weekend, hosting Binghamton University for the final conference series before next week’s America East Conference Tournament in Lowell, Mass., May 22-24. The Great Danes and Bearcats are currently in second and third place in the league standings, respectively, and will battle for the tournament’s No. 2 seed, as Maine secured the regular-season title last weekend. The series begins Friday with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Varsity Field. Saturday’s single game will be UAlbany’s Senior Day. There will be a pregame ceremony approximately 15 minutes before the contest’s 1:00 p.m. start time.

PITCHING PROBABLES
Fri., May 17, 1 p.m.
Jake Lambert, Binghamton (5-2, 3.79 ERA) vs. Austin Chase, Albany (6-4, 4.14 ERA)

Fri., May 17, 4 p.m.
Jack Rogalla, Binghamton (4-4, 2.79 ERA) vs. Ryan Stinar, Albany (1-0, 3.38 ERA)

Sat., May 18, 1 p.m.
Jay Lynch, Binghamton (5-4, 2.84 ERA) vs. TBA, Albany

SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES (22-21-1, 15-12 America East)
UAlbany is currently in second place in the conference standings and a series win over Binghamton will clinch the No. 2 seed in the America East Tournament. Last weekend, UAlbany went 1-2 at Stony Brook, falling 5-3 and 8-7, in the first two games, before rallying to win the finale, 7-4. The Great Danes rank second in the league with a collective .278 batting average, as five players are hitting above .300 – junior Josh Nethaway (.327), senior Nolan Gaige (.310), senior Greg Muller (.304), junior Brian Bullard (.300) and senior Jeff Welsh (.300). Defensively, the Great Danes own a .969 fielding percentage and a collective 4.98 ERA.

THE UALBANY COACH: Jon Mueller (14th season, Eckerd College ‘92)
Jon Mueller is in his 14th season as the head coach of the University at Albany baseball program. The Stillwater, N.Y. native has had proven success as both a player and coach throughout his career. Mueller ranks first among UAlbany’s career leaders with 301 coaching victories, and was named the America East Coach of the Year in 2004. He also led the Danes to the program’s first America East Conference tournament championship title and NCAA appearance in 2007. Mueller has produced dozens of all-conference standouts and has had six players selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft under his direction, including one in each of the past two seasons.

SCOUTING THE BEARCATS (25-21, 14-12 America East)
Binghamton is in third place in the America East standings and like UAlbany has clinched a berth to the conference tournament and can finish is high as second and as low as fourth. Last weekend, Binghamton went 1-2 against Maine, winning game one, 4-3, in 10 innings before falling 4-3 and 13-7 (10 inn.) in the final two contests. The Bearcats boast the best fielding percentage in the league -- .974 – while the pitching staff owns a 3.96 ERA. Offensively, Binghamton is batting a collective .260 average led by sophomore Jake Thomas (.363) and junior Daniel Nevares (.333).

THE BEARCAT COACH: Tim Sinicki (21st season, Western Carolina ’88)
Tim Sinicki has been named the America East Coach of the Year four times in the last eight seasons (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010), leading Binghamton to four straight regular season conference titles from 2007-10. Sinicki began his collegiate playing career as a freshman all-conference pitcher at Binghamton in 1985. One year later, he was named to the All-Region III team while pitching at nearby Broome Community College, where he was tabbed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Major League Baseball amateur draft. He finished his playing career at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., where the Catamounts captured back-to-back Southern Conference titles and competed in the NCAA Division I Championship both seasons. In his 21st season at the helm, Sinicki owns a 456-464-6 all-time record.

LAST TIME VS. THE BEARCATS
On April 13th and 14th in Vestal, N.Y., Binghamton took the series 2-1, winning the second two clashes of the weekend. UAlbany captured a 5-3 extra-inning victory (9 inn.) in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, but fell, 4-3, in the nightcap. In Sunday’s rubber match, Binghamton starter Jay Lynch tossed a complete-game gem, allowing just one run and two hits to UAlbany, leading the Bearcats to a 4-1 victory. For a complete recap and box scores from the series, see page 9 of the game notes.

AROUND THE AMERICA EAST
Three teams have sealed spots to the championship, including 2013 regular-season champion Maine. UAlbany and Binghamton have also secured spots, but could end up anywhere from No. 2 to No. 4. The winner of the Stony Brook vs. Hartford series will clinch a spot with a chance to rise as high as the No. 3 seed. The winner of the Binghamton vs. UAlbany series will be the No. 2 seed.

- No. 4 Stony Brook (22-31, 13-14 AE) at No. 5 Hartford (16-34, 12-15 AE)
- No. 3 Binghamton (25-21, 14-12 AE) at No. 2 UAlbany (22-21-1, 15-12 AE)
- No. 6 UMBC (17-28, 8-19 AE) at No. 1 Maine (32-19, 18-8 AE)

2013 AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT
Announced by the league office March 6th, the America East Conference will take its 2013 baseball championship to LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., home of Boston Red Sox Single A affiliate Lowell Spinners. The state of the art facility was tabbed to host the entire championship, marking the first time it has been held at a predetermined minor-league facility since 2001. The 2013 America East Championship will begin on Wednesday May 22, and conclude on either May 24 or May 25.

UALBANY IN THE AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT
Next week, the Great Danes will compete in the America East Tournament for the fifth straight season and eighth time since 2004. UAlbany has won the tournament once – as the No. 3 seed in 2007. The Great Danes advanced to the NCAA Regional in Fayetteville, Ark.

Year

Seed

Tournament Finish

2013

TBD

TBD

2012

#2

4th

2011

#4

2nd

2010

#4

2nd

2009

#2

2nd

2007

#3

1st

2006

#4

4th

2004

#3

3rd

SENIOR DAY
Prior to UAlbany’s final home game and series finale versus Binghamton on Saturday, the Great Danes will honor the squad’s eight seniors -- Luke Burns, Austin Chase, Brian Gauthier, Kasceim Graham, Nolan Gaige, Greg Muller, Jeff Welsh, and Derek Zielinski. As a class, the seniors have led UAlbany to an appearance every year in the America East Conference Tournament, including three runner-up finishes, as well as a 67-54 overall conference record.

STREAKING TRACY
Sophomore Joey Tracy enters the weekend with a 15-game hitting streak, marking UAlbany’s longest streak since 2008 when Ryan Gugel and Brendan Rawland both hit in 15 consecutive games. The longest hitting streak in UAlbany’s Division I history is 18 games, set by Kirt Zimniewicz in 2004. Tracy has raised his batting average 174 points in the streaking span, currently owning a .244 average.  The Great Danes also have four players boasting double-digit reached base streaks. In addition to Tracy (15), Nolan Gaige (21 games) and Greg Muller (16) have consistently served as scoring threats for UAlbany. 

TRIPLE THREAT
Senior Nolan Gaige currently ranks ninth among NCAA Division I players for triples per game this spring. Gaige, who is UAlbany’s all-time career leader in three-baggers (17) has ripped six triples this season (0.14/game).

DOUBLE TROUBLE
UAlbany’s active career doubles leader redshirt junior Josh Nethaway has belted 42 in his three-year tenure, ranking third all-time in program history. With 16 this season, Nethaway is tied for fourth all-time in a single season.

GAIGE’S RECORD-BREAKING HITS
With two hits against Manhattan on April 24th, senior Nolan Gaige became the University at Albany baseball program’s all-time hits leader, now totaling 243 in his four-year career. Gaige passed Michael Oliva (229: 1997-01) in the archives with his first hit of the night -- a leadoff double in the top of the first. In addition, Gaige is UAlbany’s all-time triples leader with 17 in his career, ranks second for runs scored (160), and is tied for sixth for doubles (35).

AT-BATS KING
Nolan Gaige is UAlbany’s all-time leader for at-bats. Playing and starting in 201 games in his career (2nd all-time), Gaige -- a mainstay in the leadoff spot -- has recorded 784 career at-bats.

BALL MAGNET
Senior Greg Muller has been hit by a pitch 15 times this season, which leads the conference and ranks 36th in the nation, getting beaned 0.34 times per game. When Muller is not taking one for the team, the senior is driving in runs, as he leads the squad and ranks second in the America East with 37 RBI.

STINAR TO START
Freshman Ryan Stinar is scheduled to make his fourth career start on the mound Friday after proving to be one of the top closers in the conference. Making 13 appearances, including 10 in relief, Stinar has logged a team-high five saves, which also ranks second in the America East. In his first career start on March 24th, Stinar led UAlbany to a 5-2 victory over UMBC, which also captured the series for the Great Danes. Stinar went six strong innings, yielding no earned runs, four hits (all singles), while striking out three. Since then, the rookie also started vs. Maine (3/31) and Stony Brook (4/7), but went without a decision in both. Stinar is 1-0 on the season with a 3.38 ERA.

WINNING IS CONTAGIOUS
UAlbany athletic teams have won a school-record nine conference championships this academic year, and baseball will look to join the club next week. Championships were already won in football, field hockey, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s indoor track & field, women’s indoor track & field, men’s outdoor track & field, women’s outdoor track & field, and men’s lacrosse. The Great Danes have now captured 66 conference championships and have made 27 NCAA Tournament appearances since going Division I.

ON DECK
UAlbany heads to Lowell, Mass. to compete in the four-team, double-elimination style America East Conference Tournament, May 22-24. The Great Danes will look to capture the program’s second conference title.