STILLWATER – Binghamton heads for the Stillwater Regional lugging an undistinguished 25-25 record to coincide with its underdog status as the No. 4 seed.
Still, the Bearcats come carrying some degree of danger to No. 7-ranked Oklahoma State.
And with fair warning from a friendly source: Tom Holliday.
Binghamton played last year in a regional at North Carolina State, where the elder Holliday serves as the pitching coach. And the Bearcats left an impression, losing both games, yet 4-1 to the No. 7-ranked Wolfpack and 8-4 to No. 23 Mississippi.
“He said they were a very capable club,” Cowboys coach Josh Holliday said of his dad’s report.
Binghamton returned nine everyday starters and two of four pitchers from its rotation as the America East favorite this season. And after a rough early stretch that left them at 9-15, the Bearcats rallied down the stretch, then rallied again to claim the conference’s automatic bid after losing their opening game in the league tournament.
And for a not-so-familiar name nationally, Binghamton has made the NCAA field in three of the past six seasons. In 2009, the Bearcats won a game at the Greenville Regional, albeit in the loser’s bracket.
“Yeah, it’s not going to be their first rodeo,” Josh Holliday said.
Not that he’d view things differently if the Bearcats were tournament newbies and coming in at .500. At this stage of the season, teams have to have done something good to still be playing, including the No. 4 seeds in four-team regionals.
“Most of the time, they just won a conference tournament and they’re feeling great,” Holliday said. “Usually 4s are just happy to be in the tournament, and they’ve got that loose mentality.
“But anywhere I’ve been, we’ve never been in a regional and looked past anybody. And that’s not who we are here. We’ve watched tape and studied them. They’ve got hitters who have had good years and they’ve got good pitchers.”