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Bearcats score early and often to hold off Albany in AEast Tourney

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STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- Junior outfielder Sydney Harbaugh and freshman designated hitter Tia Smith each homered, leading Binghamton (21-18) to a 5-3 win over Albany (30-17) in an America East Softball Tournament first-round game on Thursday afternoon at University Field. With the victory, the Bearcats move on to face Stony Brook in the winner's bracket on Friday at 11 a.m.

Harbaugh led off the game by drilling a 3-2 pitch over the center field fence. Two innings later, she scored on a wild pitch, making the score 2-0. Later in the frame, freshman second baseman Stephanie Bielec scored on a fielding error.

Smith, meanwhile, smacked a two-run home run in the top of the fourth inning, stretching the lead to 5-0. Albany, however, answered in the bottom of the fourth inning on a three-run home run by Jess Tate.

Freshman pitcher Sarah Miller, who pitched the first four innings, got the win, improving her record to 8-6. Junior pitcher Cara Martin, meanwhile, tossed three scoreless innings to nail down her first save of the year. Devin Durnado was tagged with the loss, dropping her record to 14-6.

"I am so proud of our team today" head coach Michelle Burrell said. "It was another true team effort. We played nice and relaxed and came out in the bottom of the seventh inning and went after some outs. Sarah and Cara both pitched great for us today."

Binghamton advanced to the winner's bracket of the America East Tournament for the second time in three seasons.

Martin has now allowed just one run in her past 12 innings of work.

(Courtesy: BU Athletics)