LOWELL, Mass. - The Stony Brook baseball team entered Saturday night needing one more victory to clinch the America East Championship title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. And now the Seawolves enter Sunday in the same position.
Top-seeded Stony Brook fell to third-seeded Binghamton, 4-3, Saturday night, leaving each team with one loss in the double-elimination tournament. They'll play again at noon Sunday for the title.
Trying to become the first America East repeat champion in eight years, Binghamton arrived at LeLacheur Park Saturday morning knowing it needed two wins just to force the tournament to a deciding game Sunday. After an 8-0 victory over second-seeded Hartford in the afternoon, the Bearcats (24-25) endured a 2-hour, 28-minute rain delay before beating Stony Brook (35-17).
"I think that year in and year out, [both teams] represent their institutions and the conference very well and seem to find ways to play very exciting games," Binghamton coach Tim Sinicki said, "and tonight was no different. We're happy we were able to extend the season one more day and beat a quality opponent like Stony Brook.''
Shaun McGraw's sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth gave Binghamton a 3-2 lead. But with runners on first and second in the bottom of the inning, Stony Brook's Josh Mason laced a single to center. Bill Bereszniewicz rifled a perfect throw home, but Casey Baker beat the tag to tie it.
The Bearcats made it 4-3 in the top of the ninth as Jake Thomas singled home Zach Blanden. Stony Brook threatened, putting men on first and second, but third baseman Reed Gamache grabbed a line drive and turned it into a double play to end it.
Stony Brook took a 1-0 lead in the second when Baker rolled a single through the right side, stole second and scored on Anthony Italiano's single.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the seventh, Binghamton's John Howell singled, stole second and reached third when the ball got away from catcher Kevin Krause. Blanden then lined a one-hopper that exploded on first baseman Kevin Courtney. He corralled the loose ball and flipped it to pitcher Tyler Honahan, but Blanden beat him to the bag.
In the bottom of the inning, Jack Parenty singled, moved up on Rob Chavarria's sacrifice bunt and scored on Krause's double to tie it at 2-2.