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HARRISONBURG - Binghamton erupted for eight runs in the seventh inning to break open a close game and defeat James Madison 12-2 in the opening game of a four-game non-conference baseball series on Friday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
BU improved to 2-2 overall while JMU fell to 2-3, having alternated losses and wins in each of its first five games of the season.
Redshirt junior right-hander Jack Rogalla limited JMU to two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in six innings of work to earn the victory for the Bearcats. Sophomore right-hander Mark Gunst took the loss for JMU after allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits in four innings as the starter.
Senior catcher Nick Merullo and redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia each had two of JMU's six hits in the game. Merullo had an RBI while Tenaglia also walked once while extending his hitting streak to nine games.
The top three batters in the Bearcats' lineup accounted for seven of the squad's 12 hits and seven RBIs. Center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz doubled twice, tripled, walks, scored twice and drove in two. Right fielder Zach Blanden and left fielder Jake Thomas each had two hits with three RBIs with Thomas smacking a two-run homer. Third baseman Reed Gamache also had two hits with two runs and two RBIs to give BU four consecutive batters with multiple hits.
Binghamton sent 12 batters to the plate in its big seventh inning. After JMU had scored in the sixth, the Bearcats got the run back quickly in the seventh as Gamache doubled to lead off and scored with one out on a triple by Bereszniewiicz. Thomas followed with a no-doubt shot to right field to plate two and Nevares made it back-to-back with a solo shot to right to cap four quick runs. The visitors kept the rally going with a bases-loaded hit by pitch of Gamache and Blanden's bases-clearing double into the corner in right.
Binghamton grabbed the lead in the first as Bereszniewicz walked, stole second and scored on Thomas' RBI triple to left on a high fly that landed thanks to the left fielder being shaded strong towards center field. Thomas scored when Nevares reached on a fielding error by the pitcher.
JMU plated its first run in the second as redshirt sophomore shortstop Kyle Weston stayed hot with a leadoff double to left center. He advanced on a groundout and scored on Merullo's RBI single to center field.
The top of the order struck again for the Bearcats in the third as Blanden led off with a single, stole second and scored on a double to left center by Bereszniewicz. Binghamton added a run in the fourth as Gamache singled in shortstop John Howell to make it 4-1.
Madison got one run back in the sixth as senior right fielder Tyler Gregory tripled for the second straight game on a high fly to left center. He scored on Weston's RBI groundout to make it 4-2.
The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday to continue the four-game set with a seven-inning game at noon followed immediately by a nine-inning contest.