Friday, December 19, 2014 - 10:13:47 AM

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Bearcats earn DH split in Hartford

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Despite holding host Hartford to seven hits in 16 innings, Binghamton baseball (5-12, 1-3 America East) had to settle for a doubleheader split with the Hawks (8-8, 1-1 AE) Saturday afternoon at Fiondella Field. Hartford won the opener 3-0 before the Bearcats earned the split with a 2-0 win in the seven-inning nightcap.

Three BU pitchers combined for a three-hit shutout in Game 2.  Junior Mike Urbanski (W, 1-1) tossed 4.0 innings and allowed three hits. Freshman Jextin Pugh lowered his season ERA to 3.09 with two perfect frames and sophomore Mike Bunal notched his second save of the season with a clean seventh inning. Bunal struck out two of the three hitters he faced.

The Bearcats struck for a run in the first inning and added the other in the fifth. Junior right fielder Zach Blanden had a hand in both. Blanden led off the game with a single up the middle and went to second on an infield error. With one out, senior second baseman Daniel Nevares plated Blanden with an RBI double to right center. In the fifth, Blanden led off with a solo home run over the right field fence - his first of the season.

Blanden went 2-for-4 with the home run and Nevares was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

In the opener, BU squandered some scoring chances and a leaky defense contributed to the loss. Junior Jack Rogalla (L, 2-2, 2.32) held the Hawks to just four hits and one earned run over 8.0 innings but two errors led to a pair of unearned runs. Hartford scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings - with a walk and error doing the damage in each frame. Back-to-back hits to open the seventh pushed across the third and final run.

The Bearcats missed a chance to gain some early traction against Hartford ace Sean Newcomb but left two runners stranded in the first and had another threat in the second snuffed out by a double play. Binghamton hit into three costly twin-killings and saw another scoring threat squashed in the sixth after putting runners on first and second with no outs. After finally bidding farewell to Newcomb (10 strikeouts), who departed after eight innings, BU put its leadoff hitter on in the ninth but a double play and strikeout ended the game.

Rogalla lowered his season ERA to 2.08.

The teams had four hits apiece.

Sophomore Jake Cryts (1-3, 5.40 ERA) will take the hill for the rubber game of the series, set for noon on Sunday.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)

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