Junior Justin Brantley found his form, working into the seventh and out-dueling one of the top pitchers in the East, as Siena won its home opener 6-4 over visiting Binghamton Sunday. The Bearcats scored three times in their final at bat to win the rain-soaked nightcap 6-3.
Brantley held Binghamton scoreless through the first six innings, and Siena played flawless defense behind him and used timely, clutch hitting to build a 6-0 lead. Brantley left after loading the bases in the seventh, and although the Bearcats struck for four runs, Neil Fryer eventually closed the door to preserve the win.
Siena scored a run in the second on back-to-back hits by Fey and Metzler and an RBI groundout by freshmen Dan Sullivan. They tacked on two in the third on an RBI single by Ted Trymbiski and a double steal with runners on the corners and two outs. In the fifth, Ken Kirshner scored an unearned run, and Tyler Bell's two-run single in the sixth gave Siena the commanding lead.
The first three runs were scored off Binghamton starter Mike Auigliera, who throws consistently in the 90s, and entered the game with a sub-2.0 ERA, 30 strikeouts and just one walk.
Weather was the story in the second game, as the skies opened and the temperature dropped. The game was played in a steady, driving rain that required the field to undergo constant maintenance.
Siena struck for two runs in the first inning of the second game on RBI singles by Kyle Baldani and Ryan Metzler. Binghamton scored a run in the third and two in the fourth to take its first lead of the day, but the Saints tied it on Baldani's RBI grounder in the fifth.
John Howell started the decisive seventh inning with a double down the left field line for Binghamton. He came around to score what proved to be the winning run on a mishandled bunt. The Saints had two of their four errors in the seventh, allowing the Bearcats to salvage the split.
Jack Rogalla pitched three innings of relief to earn the win for Binghamton. Lee Sosa got the save without allowing a run in the seventh.
The two teams play the rubber match of the now three-game set Monday at 3:30 p.m. at Siena Field.