Tim Sinicki, Binghamton Bearcats

college baseball

Having led his team to four NCAA Regional berths in the last nine years, Tim Sinicki enters his 26th season at the helm of the Binghamton Bearcats baseball program in 2018. He is the longest-tenured coach at the university and has consistently positioned the Bearcats among the elite teams in the America East and the Northeast.

Sinicki’s Bearcats have won four of the last five America East champions, having captured the conference titles in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017. He has been named the America East Coach of the Year six times (2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2017) and his teams have advanced to the postseason 10 times in the last 12 years. Binghamton has played in the conference title game six times in the last 11 years.

The Binghamton Bearcats have won 10 combined America East regular season and tournament titles in the last 11 years, which is the most of any team in the league. In addition to winning the last two America East regular season titles, the Bearcats are a combined 34-9 versus AE opponents during that time. Binghamton was 30-13 last year and had an RPI as high as No. 41 before falling short in the AE tournament after losing three starting infielders to injuries in April. In the last two years the Bearcats also have the second-best home winning percentage in the nation (30-4, second only to Louisville), and have had four MLB draft pick/signees.

In 2016, BU completed the America East “double” by winning the regular season and tournament titles. Sinicki’s Bearcats then battled No. 1 Texas A&M and Big Ten champion Minnesota in two narrow NCAA Regional defeats.

The Binghamton Bearcats went a dominating 19-5 against America East foes and were the last unbeaten team at home in the entire country, losing in their regular-season finale after starting the spring 14-0 on home soil. Binghamton ended the regular season by going 28-10.

A program-record nine players earned all-conference honors in 2016, led by senior Pitcher of the Year Mike Bunal. Sinicki was chosen as Coach of the Year for the fifth time, giving BU two of the four major awards. Five players were named to the first team and another four made the second team.

None of the tournament appearances or advancement was more impressive than the run of Sinicki’s 2014 squad. That team shook off an assortment of key injuries and staged an improbable run through the consolation bracket of the America East Championship, staving off elimination in four consecutive games. Despite having 40 percent of its roster unavailable for postseason, BU became the first team in the 25-year history of the conference to win four straight games, including back-to-back against the top seed.

After winning the America East crown with a dramatic 8-7 walk-off win over Stony Brook, the Binghamton Bearcats played at the NCAA Stillwater Regional and held its own in losses to seventh-ranked Oklahoma State and 19th-ranked Nebraska.

The team featured six all-conference players and celebrated another MLB Draft pick when senior center fielder Bill Bereszniewicz was picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 28th-round.

In 2013, BU captured its second America East postseason title and advanced to the NCAA Regional. The Bearcats won 30 games, landed five on the all-conference team and garnered a league-high four all-academic honorees. After defeating Maine twice and outscoring opponents 24-8 during the conference championship, BU advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Down in Raleigh, the Bearcats held their own against two nationally-ranked opponents, compiling 18 hits and recording 16 pitching strikeouts in a pair of narrow defeats to No. 7 NC State and No. 23 Ole Miss.

Despite playing every game on the road in 2012 as the team’s home facility was being refurbished, BU placed third in the conference and advanced to the America East tournament. Two more Sinicki pitching proteges – Mike Augliera and Lee Sosa – garnered first team all-conference honors and were taken in the MLB Draft. Augliera went in the fifth round – the highest pick in program history. Meanwhile, up in Minneapolis, another Sinicki pitching standout Scott Diamond made headlines with a 12-win season for the Twins.

In 2010, BU won its fourth straight America East regular season title – the second-longest streak in conference history. The team’s 21-3 league record represented the third-highest win percentage (.875) in 18 years of America East annals and the three losses were the fewest of any team in 12 years. The Bearcats won a school-record 31 games and extended their NCAA record by improving the team’s win total for a seventh consecutive season. The team then earned a final regional ranking of No. 6 (out of 68) in the PING! Northeast Rankings.

After guiding BU to its third straight America East regular season championship in 2009, Sinicki engineered an historic postseason run that included the school’s first-ever baseball conference crown, NCAA appearance and NCAA victory.

The Binghamton Bearcats school-record 30th victory was memorable — an 11-6 win over George Mason in the NCAA Regional. The Patriots had entered the postseason with the second-highest win percentage of any team in the country (78%) and BU’s victory was just the third time in 14 years that the America East champion had produced an NCAA victory.

In addition to his team’s on-the-field success, Sinicki’s program has had notable achievement in the classroom and community.

Binghamton has held the highest grade-point average of any team in the America East six times and the program has churned out scholar-athletes at a rapid rate. In 2016, 15 players were named to the America East Honor Roll with five of those earning Commissioner’s List distinction for carrying a 3.5 or higher grade-point average.

Additionally, 24 players have been chosen to the America East Baseball All-Academic Team in the last 10 years and 16 have been inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society.

When devastating flooding hit the Binghamton region in fall 2011, the Binghamton Bearcats baseball players stepped up and assisted community members whose homes and property had been damaged. The program also gives back to local Little Leagues and schoolchildren with camps, clinics and volunteer work throughout the year.

Sinicki began his collegiate playing career as a freshman all-conference pitcher at Binghamton in 1985. One year later, he was named to the All-Region III team while pitching at nearby Broome Community College, where he was tabbed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Major League Baseball amateur draft.

He finished his playing career at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C., where the Catamounts captured back-to-back Southern Conference titles and competed in the NCAA Division I Championship both seasons. In two seasons, Sinicki compiled 15 wins, including a team-leading nine as a senior.

He graduated from Western Carolina in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Sinicki began as a three-sport high school standout at Binghamton-area Johnson City High and was inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame in 2010. He lettered in baseball, football and basketball, steering the baseball team to a pair of divisional titles and the football program to sectional titles and top-10 state rankings in each of his final two seasons.

Tim resides in Vestal with his wife, Tina, and their children Allison, Tanner and Ashley.

About the author, Bill

Bill Ballew has been involved with collegiate and professional baseball since 1983. He has been the Atlanta correspondent for Baseball America since 1991 and has served as the editorial content manager for Baseball The Magazine for more than five years. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).