“I knew the game was on the line and I was happy to be in that situation,” senior catcher Cole Peragine said.
The situation was simple: runners on second and third, two outs and the UMBC Retrievers held a 5-3 lead in the second game of a double-header. Peragine was the last life the Seawolves had to try and extend the game.
“Strike one went by, and I kind of figured off-speed was coming and it was down and in where lefties like it,” Peragine said. He turned on it and laced a base hit to right field, bringing home both runners and tying the game.
Robert Chavarria then provided the icing on the cake in the bottom of the eighth, grounding a single through the left side of the infield and bringing in the winning run and capping the comeback for a 6-5 victory in game two of a three-game series with UMBC.
“Early in the year, we were doing a great job of going out there and punching people in the nose right away, but we weren’t doing a great job of counterpunching,” Manager Matt Senk said. “I think the guys, going back to last week’s Maine game, I think we took another step towards that.”
It was a gut punch that would have reprecussions, as UMBC struggled in the final game of the three-game series on Sunday, losing yet again.
A weekend that UMBC entered one game back and with the same number of losses as the Seawolves saw them drop to 4-7 in America East play and four games back with a month to play in the regular season.
“We knew they were going to come in and make a statement,” Senk said. “We clearly feel like we’ve got a good club and want to stay on top [of the America East standings] all the way through.”
Game one of the weekend was much less dramatic, courtesy of Stony Brook ace Tyler Honahan.
He dealt 6.2 innings of quality innings, only allowing three Retriever hits and striking out seven batters to increase his total to 41 on the year, good for second on the team.
The Seawolves got an early boost in this one, with sophomore Casey Baker blasting his first home run of the season over the right-field wall, scoring Chavarria.
That was all Honahan would need, only allowing four runners reach base with only one getting 90 feet from home. That was on a two-out triple by Vince Corbi in the second inning, but Honahan promptly struck out Jamie Switalski to end the threat. No runner would get past second the rest of the game.
Chavarria drove in what would be his first run of the day in the seventh, reaching on an error by UMBC shortstop Kevin Lachance. This allowed Peragine to score unearned and extend Stony Brook’s lead to 3-0.
A pair of Kevins would take the hill for UMBC in the following inning, but neither would have any success.
Kevin Little replaced Retriever starter Joe Vanderplas to start the eighth, and walked the first two batters of the inning.
Enter Kevin Ladner, but the situation would improve about as much as the first name changed. After two Seawolves batters were retired, a pair of walks were issued to Peragine and Toby Handley, the latter bringing in a run.
Jack Parenty then provided the big blow, a bases-clearing triple to center field to bring in Peragine, Handley and pinch-runner Billy McLean to make it 7-0 Stony Brook.
Chavarria allowed Parenty to venture the final 90 feet and touch home in the next at-bat, an RBI single up the middle.
In game two, the Seawolves bats were held silent until game two. Four hits through six innings were not getting the job done for Senk’s squad, much to the credit of the Retrievers’ starting pitcher, Conrad Wozniak.
“I don’t know if we’ve come across a kid with that kind of pin-point location,” Senk recalled. “That kid could basically put the ball wherever he wanted to.”
The key words there was six innings. Game two is seven innings in regulation length, and that is where the Retrievers lost all of their momentum.
After a pair of base hits by Chavarria and Johnny Caputo, Retrievers manager Bob Mumma pulled Wozniak in favor of reliever Denis Mikush. He would not be able to retain the lead.
Andruw Gazolla loaded the bases with a single, and then a wild pitch scored Chavarria and made it a 5-2 Retriever advantage. Bobby Honeyman’s RBI groundout scored Caputo and cut the lead to two at 5-3.
After Jeremy Giles walked and then proceeded to steal second, the stage was set for Peragine.
“Every baseball player wants to be that guy in the last inning,” Peragine said.
The catcher was that guy, and he delivered the big hit, sending the game into extra innings.
In game three it was yet another dominant pitching performance paving the way for the three-game sweep, this time by sophomore Ryley MacEachern.
He went 6.2 innings, just like Honahan in game one, and delivered similar numbers. He also only allowed three hits, but only put up four in the strikeout column. Nevertheless, it was still more than enough as Stony Brook took the third game of this series, 6-0.
In a game that consisted of balanced, spread out scoring, the Seawolves scored in five of the eight innings, only scoring multiple runs in the same frame once.
Gazzola had a standout day, going 3-for-4 off of UMBC’s starter Matt Chanin. He also drove in Caputo on a base hit up the middle in the fifth to increase the lead to 4-0.
Chanin only lasted 3.2 innings in the matchup, allowing six Stony Brook hits and three runs.
Four relievers came in for the Retrievers and allowed the same number of runs in 5.1 innings, with Connor Staskey and Mikush holding the Seawolves scoreless in a pair of 0.2 inning relief efforts.
Peragine and Handley each added RBI singles in the second and fourth innings, respectively, and Caputo’s sacrifice fly in the third also brought home a run.
The Seawolves added insurance in the eighth with a pair of runs. Giles scored on a wild pitch and Baker grounded out to second, driving in another run to finish the scoring.
The sensational first-year seasons for Kevin Kernan and Teddy Rodliff continued, as they combined for 2.1 innings of scoreless work, only allowing one hit. Kernan’s ERA dropped below one to 0.98, which would be good for top-10 in
After hosting LIU-Brooklyn on Wednesday, the Seawolves will head to the nation’s capital for a three-game series with Georgetown.