Baseball Slips, 10-3, To Binghamton On Senior Day, Earning No. 3 Seed

BOX SCORE  I  SEASON STATS  I  SENIOR SUMMARIES  I  AMERICA EAST BRACKET

ALBANY, N.Y. – Entering Saturday’s series rubber match, both Binghamton and the University at Albany knew they would be seeing each other again very soon. Both squads had already clinched a berth to the America East Conference Tournament and with the split of Hartford and Stony Brook’s Friday doubleheader, they were locked into the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, which will face each other in the conference tournament first round next Wednesday. The mystery remaining was which number would be next to which name in the bracket.

The outcome – Binghamton will be the No. 2 and UAlbany will be the No. 3 after the Bearcats overcame the Great Danes, 10-3, at Varsity Field in the regular season finale.

Binghamton’s Jake Thomas was the spark plug of the game, knocking a pair of two-run home runs in the first and third innings, giving the Bearcats the lead for good.

Binghamton took a 2-0 lead on his first homer of the game, but UAlbany cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the frame. Senior leadoff batter Nolan Gaige got hit by a pitch, moved to third on Gordon Madej’s sacrifice bunt and senior Greg Muller’s single, and scored on junior Josh Nethaway’s RBI fielder’s choice.

However, Thomas tagged UAlbany starter Stephen Carey with another home run over the right field wall in the third, jumping out to a 4-1 advantage.

The Bearcats added another pair of runs in the top of the fifth, stringing together two singles and a sacrifice bunt. With first base open, Carey got the sign to intentionally walk Thomas, but the first pitch went to the backstop, allowing Bill Bereszniewicz to score. Zach Blanden also crossed the plate in the inning on a one-out fielder’s choice.

The bats fell silent for both squads until the eighth inning when Binghamton tacked on four more runs, taking a 10-1 lead. The Bearcats took advantage of a leadoff walk and followed with a double, two singles, and another double off reliever Joey Moore. Freshman Sam DeCelle came out of the bullpen and ended the side with a strikeout.

In the bottom of the frame, the Great Danes finally got the bats going, as Madej led off with a single to shortstop and Nethaway brought him home, ripping a ground rule double to left centerfield. Junior D.J. Hoagboon got in on the action as well, belting a double down the left field line, plating Nethaway.

However, that would be the last runs of the ballgame, as senior Brian Gauthier held the Bearcats off in the top of the ninth, and Binghamton closer Mike Kaufman set the Danes down in order in their final at-bats.

Binghamton starter Jay Lynch (6-4) earned the win, tossing four innings, allowing one run and five hits. Jake Cryts also was solid on the mound, allowing just one hit in three frames. Using four arms, Mike Bunal and Kaufman each threw one inning out of the pen.

For UAlbany, Carey (1-2) took the loss, allowing six runs and seven hits in five innings of work. Preserving arms for the upcoming tournament, UAlbany shared the load across five pitchers in the game. Freshman Brendan Ryan tossed two composed innings out of the pen, allowing just one hit, while Moore, DeCelle, and Gauthier also saw time on the mound.

Offensively, the Great Danes totaled nine hits in the contest, led by Muller, Nethaway, and senior Luke Burns’ 2-for-4 performances.

Saturday was also Senior Day for the Great Danes, in which the squad’s class of eight -- Luke Burns, Austin Chase, Brian Gauthier, Kasceim Graham, Nolan Gaige, Greg Muller, Jeff Welsh, and Derek Zielinskiwere – were honored in a pregame ceremony.

Up next, UAlbany will trek to Lowell, Mass. to compete in the America East Conference Tournament for the fifth straight season.  The Great Danes will face Binghamton at 8:00 p.m. Wednesday at LeLacheur Park. The game will follow the 4:00 p.m. contest between No. 1 Maine and No. 4 Stony Brook.