27 runs. 31 hits. 26 walks. 28 runners left on base. 111 plate appearances.
Those were the combined stats when the top two seeds of the America East Baseball Championship met in the Championship round Saturday night at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Safe to say, it was not a good day for pitchers for either Stony Brook or UMBC. However, the Seawolves offense was more explosive than the Retrievers’, and Stony Brook earned its fifth America East Championship by defeating the second seed, 16-11, in a game that lasted a little under four hours in length.
The Seawolves broke a number of records on the way to the title, including runs in an inning and a pair of Stony Brook players, sophomore shortstop Jeremy Giles and senior second baseman Robert Chavarria, competing for the walks in a game record, which Giles eventually took by drawing six. The senior second baseman was right behind him with five.
After falling behind 7-0 in the first inning, it looked as if the Seawolves were going to blow the opportunity to close out the tournament on their first try, just like they did with Binghamton in 2014.
Stony Brook came back with a tournament-record 11 runs in the second inning, on the back of nine RBI plays. The only two players that drove in more than one run on a hit were sophomore center fielder Toby Handley with a two-run single to cut the Retrievers lead to 7-3, and then a screamer down the left field line by senior catcher Cole Peragine to make it 10-7 Seawolves.
The game-winning RBI is credited to freshman designated hitter Malcolm Nachmanoff, who singled in his classmate, freshman right fielder Andruw Gazzola to give the Seawolves their lead they would never relinquish.
All seven runs scored by UMBC were earned in the first inning, but that could not be said for the Seawolves runs in the second. Nine of the 11 runs scored by the team in red were unearned, blemishing what would have been a good start for redshirt junior pitcher Joe Vanderplas.
He ended up getting pulled after 1.1 innings, allowing only three hits but six runs.
His counterpart, Stony Brook sophomore pitcher Ryley MacEachern, only lasted one inning, plus a batter in the second. He ended up getting charged for eight runs, all earned, since he walked the first batter of the second inning.
After a combined 20 runs were scored in the first two innings and the Seawolves held an 11-9 advantage, things started to settle down.
Normally not so impressive lines, junior relievers Tim Knesnik for Stony Brook and Connor Staskey for UMBC slowed the scoring down. Knesnik threw four solid innings, allowing three runs on six hits while Staskey let up five runs, only three of them earned, in five innings of work.
The theme of the day were the bats, as 15 of the 18 batters put a hit on the board and nine of them had multi-hit days.
The top two hitters, Peragine and Handley, led the way for the Seawolves, combining for seven hits and driving in three runs each. Sophomore first baseman Casey Baker extended his hitting streak to 18 games on the season with a three-hit day, while Gazzola and Nachmanoff added a pair of hits each.
Senior right fielder Jake Barnes’ saved his best game for last in a Retrievers uniform, going a perfect 4-for-4 while driving in three runs, but it was not enough to save his team that finished in the basement of the league in 2014.
Junior reliever Chad Lee and sophomore closer Cameron Stone worked a scoreless final four innings, allowing only one hit between them.
After the frantic first two innings and a scoreless third, Parenty and Baker added RBI base hits to center to extend the Seawolves lead to 13-9. But a Barnes triple made it a 13-10 score in favor of Stony Brook.
The Seawolves countered with a Peragine RBI single to center, and again UMBC answered with an RBI single by sophomore center fielder Andrew Casali.
Stony Brook added two runs in the seventh to put the nail in the coffin of the Cinderella season for the Retrievers, who won their first America East Tournament game on Thursday night when they defeated Maine.
Manager Matt Senk and his team now await their fate in the NCAA Tournament and will look to rekindle that flame from 2012, when his team made it all the way to the College World Series. Peragine is the only man left from that team, and is looking to do it again.