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Binghamton baseball reaches America East Championship with 8-0 win vs. Hartford

LOWELL, Mass. – The Binghamton baseball team cruised past Hartford 8-0 in the losers’ bracket final to advance to the title round of the 2014 America East Championship, Saturday afternoon at LeLacheur Park. The defending champion Bearcats will be making their fifth title round appearance tonight at 6 p.m. versus top-seed Stony Brook. BU must win to force a Game 7 tomorrow at noon and continue its hopes for back-to-back titles.

The Bearcats received an absolute gem from junior Greg Ostner who threw a complete-game shutout in just his second career start. The righty from New Milford, Conn. scattered six hits, issued one walk and struck out four batters. He threw an extremely efficient 105 pitches (72 strikes) preserving a depleted Binghamton bullpen.

Binghamton’s offense exploded for 12 hits and eight runs as the heart of BU’s order went a combined 7-for-15 with four RBI and seven runs scored. Senior Shaun McGraw continued his stellar tournament with a 2-for-3 day with two RBI and two runs scored. Classmate Daniel Nevares went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and junior Jake Thomas broke out of his 0-for-9 slump with a 1-for-3 outing with two RBI and two runs scored.

The Bearcats wasted little time breaking the game open plating five runs in the bottom of the first, supplying Ostner with all the offense he would need.

Binghamton’s 1-2-3 hitters all singled to start the game to load the bases for Thomas. The two-time first-team all-conference selection roped a single to left field scoring junior Zach Blanden and senior Bill Bereszniewicz. McGraw continued the production with a double down the left field line to score Thomas and Nevares. After a ground out, freshman designated hitter Brendan Skidmore’s sacrifice fly plated McGraw to give the Bearcats a 5-0 lead after the first. The Bearcats ran Hartford starting pitcher Kyle Gauthier after the first inning.

In the fourth Ostner gave up a lead-off single to freshman David McKinnon, the only Hawk to record a hit at the time. However, a solid Binghamton defense turned its fourth double-play of the tournament to stymie an answer from Hartford.

Binghamton added three more runs in the fifth to extend its lead to 8-0. Nevares lead-off the inning with a single up the middle then stole second to move into scoring position. After a pair of walks to Thomas and McGraw, sophomore Reed Gamache was hit to score Nevares.

Senior John Howell then scored Thomas with a sacrifice fly to right field. America East All-Rookie selection Eddie Posavec rounded out the scoring in the fifth with an RBI single through the right side to plate McGraw.

Hartford put together its biggest threat of the game in the sixth as the Hawks produced back-to-back one-out singles. However, Ostner was able to get Hartford’s 3 and 4 hitters to fly out and end the inning and the Hawks last real chance.

Ostner recorded three 1-2-3 inning during his stellar outing to pick up his third win of the season and fifth of his career.

Posavec continued his outstanding tournament going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two stolen bases. Bereszniewicz went 2-for-5 with a run scored. Only one Binghamton battered failed to record a hit.
Binghamton is just the sixth team to lose its first game in the conference championship and advance to the title round.

Only two teams have forced a Game 7 in the tournament history, Maine in 2002 and Vermont in 2006. Maine is the only team to go on to win the title after losing its first game of the championship.

The Bearcats also advanced to the championship round in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012, winning titles in 2009 and 2012. Stony Brook and Binghamton are meeting four just the fourth time ever in the conference championship and the second in the title round.

(Courtesy: Binghamton University Athletic Website)

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