Stony Brook came back from a pair of deficits and Matt Senk earned his 700th career victory, in a 6-4 defeat of LIU Brooklyn in an NCAA baseball non-conference matchup Wednesday afternoon.
Andruw Gazzola went 2-for-4 and earned a pair of RBI while Toby Handley had a clutch one-out, two-run double as the Seawolves defeated the Blackbirds in the first matchup between the two teams since 2001.
This victory makes it seven wins in a row for the Seawolves. The streak dates back to early April, with the Seawolves’ last loss coming on March 30.
“It beats the alternative,” Senk said with a laugh. “It’s great to take that streak into the Georgetown weekend.”
Handley’s double in the sixth inning was a hot shot down the left-field line, scoring Cole Creighton from second and Cole Peragine all the way from first to give the Seawolves a 5-4 lead, an advantage they would not relinquish over the final three frames.
It was one of Senk’s former players that he defeated, taking down Stony Brook baseball’s first All-American and current LIU Brooklyn Head Coach Alex Trezza. Trezza played from 1999-2002, and was picked to College Baseball Newspaper’s Third Team in 2001 to earn the landmark.
“He’s doing a very good job there and has them playing hard. It was a hard-fought game,” the manager said about Trezza.
It was Nick DiEva who started the matchup, going three innings, with the first inning going roughly.
The freshman hit his first batter and then allowed a Tommy Jakubowski triple two batters later to get the Blackbirds on the board early. An RBI groundout by Melvin Rios made it 2-0 LIU Brooklyn.
Jakubowski would score another run in the fourth when he reached on an infield single and later touched home on Mark Hernandez’s sacrifice fly. The big-hitting lefty finished the night 2-for-3.
DiEva was able to record five strikeouts in the short outing, three of them looking with a nasty curveball.
“His stuff was really good,” Senk said. “He throws hard and his breaking ball was good.”
Three straight base hits by Johnny Caputo, Gazzola and Jeremy Giles gave the Seawolves their first lead of the game at 3-2 in the third. Gazzola’s triple down the right field line was sandwiched between RBI singles up the middle by Caputo and Giles.
Jakubowski’s run tied it, then Hernandez gave LIU a 4-3 lead with a bomb over the right-center field fence off of Tim Knesnik in the seventh, Hernandez’s second RBI of the game.
After Creighton and Peragine were able to draw free passes via a hit by pitch and a walk, Handley roped a 3-2 pitch down the left field line to score them both.
Those were two of 11 free passes issued by Blackbird pitchers with three hit by pitches, two of them to Creighton, and eight walks.
“Our guys have been really good at [drawing free passes] all year,” Senk said. They have amassed 134 free passes to 199 strikeouts. “Their patience and strike zone discipline has been really good most of the year.”
Just to ice the victory, Gazzola drew a bases loaded walk to score Peragine in the eighth, who also reached on a base on balls.
The Seawolves will look to extend their winning streak when they take their talents to the nation’s capital and Big East country to take on Georgetown in a three-game set this weekend.