Junior infielder Bobby Honeyman celebrates a walk-off single against Hartford on Wednesday. The Seawolves will advance to the next round of the America East Tournament. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AMERICA EAST

Junior third baseman Bobby Honeyman is the guy Stony Brook Baseball wants at the plate in a clutch situation during the first round of the America East Tournament.

For the second straight year, Honeyman had a walk-off hit to help send his team to the second day of the tournament. On Wednesday, he lifted a bloop single into right field to score the winning run from third base in the bottom of the tenth inning, defeating Hartford 4-3.

Honeyman was one of three Seawolves to collect two hits in Stony Brook’s tournament-opening win. Junior left fielder Andruw Gazzola and sophomore right fielder Dylan Resk also had two hits, improving their individual May batting averages to .444 and .351, respectively.  

However, the team was not always getting on base.

Hartford’s freshman starting pitcher Nathan Florence was dominant at the start the game, despite entering the day with a 6.80 earned run average (ERA). In the first five innings, Florence did not allow a run and allowed just one hit. 

Stony Brook freshman starting pitcher Brian Herrmann allowed two early runs to begin the game, but the freshman showed resilience. He settled down and ended up throwing 113 pitches in seven innings, allowing two runs and striking out six batters.

Many young pitchers would have opened up the floodgates after allowing two runs in their first America East Tournament game, but this freshman did not pitch like an inexperienced athlete. After allowing the two early runs, Herrmann went neck and neck with Florence to keep his team within striking distance.

Once senior first baseman Casey Baker drove in the Seawolves’ first run on a double down the right field line in the sixth inning, Florence was removed from the game and Stony Brook quickly exploited Hartford’s bullpen.

Freshman designated hitter Michael Wilson hit an opposite-field home run over the left field wall the following inning – his fifth of the season – to give the Seawolves a 3-2 lead. Opposite-field home runs are harder to come by than home runs that are pulled or hit to center field. The former 15th round MLB Draft pick by the Boston Red Sox also hit an opposite-field home run in his first at-bat at Joe Nathan Field earlier this season.

Junior closer Aaron Pinto entered the game in the eighth inning in an attempt to complete the two-inning save, but he found himself in trouble in the ninth when Hartford freshman utility player Trevor Thompson connected on a successful suicide squeeze bunt that tied the game at three. Stony Brook was unable to score in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the bases loaded and forcing extra innings.

Pinto went on to pitch the tenth and final inning before Honeyman won the game in the bottom of the inning. The closer earned his fifth win of the season. Hartford has now lost each of its last three America East Tournament games in walk-off fashion.

Stony Brook will look to ride the momentum into the second day of the America East Tournament when they face No. 2-seeded UMBC at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday. The Seawolves won two of three games in a series against the Retrievers last weekend.