Thomas leads Bearcats into no. 2 seed.
5/18/2013 (Updated 10:48:12 PM)ALBANY, N.Y.Sophomore left fielder Jake Thomas punctuated his incredible regular season with a pair of two-run home runs to lift visiting Binghamton (27-22, 16-13 AE) to a 10-3 win over Albany (23-23-1, 16-14 AE) in the regular-season finale for both teams Saturday afternoon. With the win, BU claimed regular-season runnerup honors and will carry the No. 2 seed into the America East tournament.
Thomas, the leading hitter in the America East, was walked twice but still went 3-for-3 with four RBI to pace a 13-hit BU attack. Thomas will carry a .524 on-base percentage (No. 3 in nation) into the postseason and leads the conference with his .374 average.
With the winner of the rubber game earning the No. 2 seed, the Bearcats got on the board immediately courtesy of Thomas. With one out in the first, freshman infielder David Schanz singled and Thomas followed with a two-run shot over the right field fence.
The Great Danes got one run back in the bottom of the frame after a hit batter, sacrifice and single.
But Thomas struck again in the third, following a Schanz one-out walk with another two-run blast - his team-high fifth of the season. His RBI count rose to a team-high 36 with the big day at the plate.
Ahead 4-1, BU added two more runs in the fifth inning. Junior center fielder Billy Bereszniewicz and sophomore right fielder Zach Blanden hit back-to-back singles and after a Schanz bunt moved them 90 feet up, Bereszniewicz scored on a wild pitch to push the Bearcats lead to 5-1. After Thomas was intentionally walked, junior third baseman Brian Ruby scored Blanden with an RBI groundout.
Binghamton put it away with four runs in the eighth inning on four hits. Thomas walked to open the inning and stole second. Ruby then hit an RBI double down the right field line, making it 7-1. Senior first baseman Jordon Smucker added a one-out RBI single and Bereszniewicz joined the barrage with a two-out, two-run double.
Albany put up two runs on three hits in the bottom of the eighth to finish the scoring.
Senior Jay Lynch (W, 6-4) worked four innings and allowed five hits and one run. He lowered his ERA against conference opponents to 2.28.
Freshman reliever Jake Cryts tossed three scoreless innings in relief, giving up just one hit in a strong showing. Two other BU relievers finished out the game.
Ruby went 2-for-5 with two RBI to continue his hot streak. He has seven RBI in his last 12 games. Bereszniewicz went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Blanden also collected two hits. Thomas finished up league play with some big numbers: In 29 league games, he hit .416 and had a .546 on-base percentage with 18 RBI.
Binghamton and Albany will play for the fourth time in five days when they meet in Wednesday nights opening-round 8 p.m. matchup at LeLacheur Park in Lowell. It will be a rematch of last years first-round game which saw the third-seeded Bearcats post a 2-1 win over the second-seeded Great Danes. Top-seeded Maine will face defending champion Stony Brook in the 4 p.m. game. The tournament is a double-elimination format with the winner earning the conferences automatic berth into the NCAA tournament. The Bearcats captured the America East title in 2009 and are the only AE team to finish in the regular season top-3 in each of the last seven years.
(Courtesy: BU Athletics)
(Video Courtesy: WTEN Albany)
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