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Bearcats sweep Hawks in Saturday twinbill

VESTAL, N.Y.Sophomore catcher Nick Pancerella delivered a one-out walk-off infield single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Binghamton baseball (23-19, 12-10 AE) a dramatic 6-5 win over Hartford (14-30, 11-12 AE) and a sweep of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon from the Bearcats Sports Complex. Binghamton won the seven-inning opener 3-2.

With the bases loaded and one run already in, Pancerella hit a smash to the left side of the infield that the Hartford third baseman couldnt flag down. Junior Daniel Nevares raced home with the winning run, setting off a celebration at the plate and at first around Pancerella. The Bearcats trailed 5-4 entering their final at-bat in the tenth inning before rallying.

Sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas (3-for-4, RBI) got things started with a crisp single up the middle on the very first pitch of the inning. He moved to second on a wild pick-off throw and Nevares drew a walk. Freshman pinch hitter Reed Gamache dropped down a perfect bunt and the Hawks pitcher tried to get the force at third but Thomas was on the bag safe. Junior first baseman Brian Ruby plated Thomas with the tying run on a sacrifice fly to right. Junior shortstop John Howell was then intentionally walked to load the bases, setting up Pancerellas winning hit.

Sophomore reliever Anthony Grillini (4-0, 3.81) earned the win with 5.2 innings of strong work. Grillini allowed just two hits and a run in relief of junior starter Jack Rogalla. Grillini struck out seven and walked one.

Hartford outhit BU 10-3 and built a 4-1 cushion before the Bearcats scratched out three unearned runs on just one hit in the seventh. After being shut down on one hit through six innings by Hartford starter Brian Hunter, BU took advantage of the pitching change. The seventh inning included a hit batter, walk, botched play on a bunt and wild pitch before freshman third baseman David Schanz made it 4-3 on a sacrifice fly. With two outs and the tying run on third, Thomas delivered in the clutch, ripping a 1-1 pitch up the middle for an RBI single and a 4-4 tie.

After scoreless eighth and ninth innings, Hartford plated the go-ahead run in the 10th on a one-out double and a two-out RBI single into shallow right center that resulted in a disputed play at the plate.

But the Bearcats struck for the deciding runs off the Hawks closer in the bottom of the frame.

In the opener, BU trailed 2-0 before a bases-clearing double off the bat of Nevares turned the tide in the fifth inning. Senior ace Jake Lambert went the distance and scattered six hits and one earned run. Lambert (5-2, 3.80) retired the side in order in four of seven innings and stranded the potential tying run on second in the seventh to close it out.

The Bearcats put runners on in every inning but stranded five before cashing in on the Nevares hit in the pivotal fifth. Junior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz led off and reached after getting hit. After a line-out, Schanz dropped a perfect bunt down toward third, putting runners on first and second. Thomas then hit a sharp shot to deep short and reached with the infield single to load the bases. Nevares then lashed a 1-1 pitch to the wall in right center, clearing the bases.

Hartford put its leadoff runner on in the sixth but Lambert got a shot to third that Schanz snared and fired back to first to complete the double play. In the seventh, Lambert got his fifth strikeout and after the two-out double, Lambert forced a fly out to right to end it.
Nevares went 2-for-3 with the three RBI and Schanz went 3-for-3.

NOTES
Maine (15-7) and Albany (14-9) split their doubleheader to retain the top two positions in the America East standings. The Bearcats (12-10) jumped ahead of Hartford (11-12) into third place. Stony Brook (10-13) and UMBC (6-17) split their twinbill, leaving BU 2.5 games clear of Stony Brook for a top-four tournament position. There are seven conference games remaining for each team.

SUNDAY PITCHING MATCHUP
Sean Newcomb, Hartford (4-3, 3.91 ERA) vs. Jay Lynch, Binghamton (4-4, 2.51 ERA)

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)

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