Welcome to Between the Lines. Each week, our spring sports beat writers will take a look at the action on the baseball and softball diamonds, as well as the men’s and women’s lacrosse fields, and put their observations together. This is the first edition of our column.
Point 1: SBU baseball’s pitching has gone from question mark to strength thanks to the freshmen
Bryan Tatelman, Brandon McNitt and Frankie Vanderka were all seniors last year. The 2014 America East Freshman of the Year Cameron Stone was injured earlier this season. Stony Brook’s pitching was becoming a question mark entering conference play.
Tim Knesnik was coming off of a rough season, and Daniel Zamora and Ryley MacEachern were both coming off of surgery.
Everything was in shambles, and the only thing holding the pitching together was consistent-starter Tyler Honahan and a bunch of first-year players.
Kevin Kernan is first on the team in ERA of the consistent pitchers, posting a 0.98 mark with a pair of wins in nine outings. Teddy Rodliff is holding together a 1.12 ERA in nine appearances, with both pitchers combining to allow only four runs and striking out 16 batters. Nicholas DiEva has only allowed seven earned runs in 17.1 innings pitched and secured a pair of wins.
With six returning players from last season and four batters having on-base percentages of over .400, this team has turned from one with an offense that would have to secure every victory, to one that is balanced and determined to make some noise.
–By Cameron Boon, Assistant Sports Editor
Point 2: Big bats making big impact for SBU softball
Stony Brook’s lineup is nothing to sneeze at.
This season, the Seawolves have a 8-0 record when they score eight or more runs in a game. When they score seven or fewer runs, they have an 8-12 record.
A lot of this high-powered offense has come from the hot bats of senior leaders Bria Green and Shayla Giosia. The two sluggers lead the America East conference in home runs with 14 and seven, respectively.
Green’s numbers so far this season are incredible. She is batting .439 (good for second in the America East) and slugging a whopping 1.037, the best in the conference.
She also has the most total bases in the America East with 85. She has an on-base percentage of .520, good for fourth in the conference.
Giosia is having a great season of her own. She has a .371 batting average, slugging .719, and getting on base at a .426 pace. The outfielder has racked up 64 total bases as well.
When these two do well, the whole team does well. These numbers speak for themselves. The combination of Green and Giosia could very well be the best pair of hitters in the America East.
Expect big numbers from these two all season long.
–By Dylan Moore, Staff Writer
Point 3: SBU men’s lacrosse should be ranked in the top 15
Men’s lacrosse is heating up. Fast. After a heartbreaking loss to a now 3-7 St. John’s team, in which the Red Storm went on a late 7-0 run, the Seawolves have found their stride.
The team is 9-1 since that game, only falling to Albany, the No. 10 team in the country and reigning America East champs, by two goals.
Along the way, the Seawolves beat an undefeated Marist team on the road, warded off a top-25 Fairfield team and handled No. 12 Princeton. The team now sits at no. 29 in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse RPI ranking.
The thing that stands out in this Stony Brook team is the unselfishness. Six players on the squad have double-digit goals, while seven have hit the double-digits in the points category.
Another key factor to success has been the emergence of freshman goalkeeper Brandon Macijewski. Macijewski grabbed the starting job after sophomore Hayden Johnstone was hit with injuries.
Macijewski has not looked back since, posting a 5-1 record, 49 saves and a .480 save percentage. He is extremely composed for a freshman and ramps up his game when it is needed most.
His four fourth-quarter saves in the game against Princeton showed his aptitude to step up in the clutch.
The Seawolves have yet to face their toughest challenge yet, as a ninth ranked and defending NCAA champion Duke team comes to town April 15. Stony Brook will have a chance, once again, to see if they can hang with the big boys. A win here would mean serious consideration for a top-10 spot the following week.
-By Chris Peraino, Staff Writer
Point 4: SBU women’s lacrosse has officially established themselves as NCAA title contenders
As a top-10 ranked team in the country, the 2015 incarnation of the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team may be the first team in any sport in school history to be considered a national contender.
This team has all the tools to make a run at an NCAA championship next month. The old adage goes, “To be a champion, you have to beat a champion,” and that is precisely what the Seawolves did on Sunday against Northwestern, winning 11-9.
The Northwestern Wildcats came into the game ranked No. 5 in the country and have won seven of the last ten NCAA championships in women’s lacrosse.
With senior leadership from Michelle Rubino and Amber Kupres in the midfield, lockdown defenders in Maegan Meritz and Alyssa Fleming and underclassmen Courtney Murphy and Kylie Ohlmiller sniping shots in the offensive zone, the team does not have a weakness.
If this Seawolves team can maintain their poise and composure come playoff time, they have a legitimate chance at becoming the first NCAA team champion in Stony Brook history.
-By Skyler Gilbert, Staff Writer