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Pitcher Mike Bunal's fifth complete game of the season helped Binghamton sweep Albany on May 14. The Bearcats clinched their fifth America East regular season championship in the past 10 years.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
Baseball clinches America East regular-season title
May 15, 2016Tweet
Binghamton baseball (25-21, 17-3 America East) clinched its fifth America East regular season title in the last 10 years on May 14, sweeping a twinbill from Albany (19-25, 7-12 AE), 13-5 and 3-2. With four conference games still remaining, Binghamton kept surging toward the postseason by wrapping up the No. 1 seed early. The Bearcats have now won 14 of their last 18 games.
By winning the regular season title, Binghamton also made history by reversing an oddity from a year ago. The Bearcats became the first baseball team in conference history to go from last place to first place the following season. Binghamton, which had won back-to-back postseason titles in 2013 and 2014, slipped to last in 2015 but now have put themselves in position to challenge for a crown in 2016. The six-team tournament begins May 25 in Lowell, Mass.
In the clinching Game 2, senior Mike Bunal tossed his fifth complete game and stranded the tying run on third in Albany’s final at-bat. Bunal (7-3) struck out eight and scattered five hits and two runs. He now has 72 strikeouts in 74 IP this season.
The Bearcats scored twice in the second inning and added after Albany got one back in the third, Binghamton added an important insurance run in the sixth to lead 3-1. The Great Danes scored in their half of the sixth and then put the pressure on in the seventh. The leadoff hitter reached and was sacrificed to second. A groundout moved the tying run 90 feet away before Bunal got a soft fly ball to shallow right to end the game.
Junior catcher Eddie Posavec went 2-for-3 with an RBI and sophomores Chris McGee and Paul Rufo added RBIs. After a five-RBI showing in the opener, McGee hit a run-scoring double in the sixth to complete his day with six RBIs. Posavec hammered an RBI double in the second and Rufo added a run-scoring groundout to account for Binghamton’s runs.
In the opener, Binghamton amassed 13 runs on 18 hits and scored in seven of the nine innings. Down 3-2 after two, the Bearcats scored in four straight innings to take control. They evened it with a run in the third before both teams tallied single runs in the fourth. A four-run outburst in the fifth inning and a three-run showing one inning later did the damage for Binghamton.
In the fifth, Binghamton produced four runs on three hits and four walks. The big blow was a bases-clearing triple down the right field line from McGee, who went 3-for-4 with a career-high five RBI. He also had an RBI single in the fourth and a sacrifice fly in the sixth to cap his production.
In the sixth, junior first baseman Brendan Skidmore belted a two-home run home - his team-leading ninth of the season.
Senior second baseman Reed Gamache went 3-for-5 and added to his America East-best RBI total with his 42nd and 43rd runs driven in. Gamache also extended his hit streak to 17 games. Sophomore center fielder CJ Krowiak went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and Skidmore, Posavec and sophomore catcher Jason Agresti had two RBI apiece.
Junior starter Jake Cryts (6-4) worked five innings and allowed five hits and three earned runs. Senior closer Rob Hardy notched his sixth save of the season with 4.0 innings. Hardy allowed just two hits and no earned runs.