Two men were on base with one out in the bottom of the first inning for Stony Brook and junior first baseman Casey Baker was up at the plate. The Seawolves’ clean-up hitter lined a single to right field to score his teammate Toby Handley, his first of six RBIs in the game, tying a career high as Stony Brook defeated Dayton, 11-6 on Friday afternoon at Russell C. King Field in South Carolina.
Baker anchored the offense with three hits, a double and six RBI’s on the night to lead his team to victory over Dayton in the first game of the 2016 season. Three of Baker’s at-bats were with the bases loaded, as Stony Brook reached base at a tremendous pace, thanks in large part to drawing walks.
The Seawolves drew 10 walks against the Flyers. Last season, Stony Brook led the America East Conference in team on-base percentage last season at .390 in addition to have nearly 50 more walks than every other team in the conference.
Junior center fielder Handley embodied manager Matt Senk’s philosophy of patience in his first game since being named the team’s lead off hitter. Handley reached base on all five plate appearances finishing with four walks, three runs and a double.
On the mound, senior Tyler Honahan got the nod for the opening day start. He was a unanimous selection for First Team All-America East in 2015 after posting a 7-3 record with 65 strikeouts in 75 innings.
Although Senk discounted the idea that the pitching staff had any true “ace” in a recent interview, Honahan played like one on Friday. He had five strikeouts in five innings, while allowing just two runs, to collect his first win of the year.
Honahan began the game in sloppy fashion allowing two hits, a walk and a run scored before recording an out. From that point on he redeemed himself, retiring 13 of the next 14 batters he faced. The only blip in that span was a solo home run from Dayton’s junior first baseman Nick Gobert in the second inning.
Dayton senior starting pitcher Sam Brunner was charged with the loss, allowing five runs in 3.1 innings pitched.
Despite leading 11-2 entering the eighth inning the Seawolves had a difficult time closing out the Flyers, coughing up four runs before hanging on to win. Luckily for the bullpen, the offense exploded for 11 runs which overshadowed the team’s relief pitching issues.
On Saturday, the bullpen was not as fortunate, blowing a late three-run lead, as Stony Brook fell to Wofford, 9-8.
Cameron Stone started the game, beginning his transition to the starting role from being the team’s closer the last two seasons. In four innings of work, Stone allowed three runs on five hits to go with five strikeouts.
He played opposite Dayton sophomore starting pitcher Adam Scott who pitched well, notching eight strikeouts in five innings. However, after an error by the Flyers, the Seawolves were able to get runners in scoring position in the second inning.
Junior shortstop Jeremy Giles put the Seawolves on the board with a two-run double. Giles scored himself on the next at-bat on a triple off the bat of junior center fielder Handley to put Stony Brook up 3-0.
Stony Brook would add three more runs in the top of the 7th inning on a two run single from senior left fielder Jack Parenty, the defending America East Conference Player of the Year, and one run on a Wofford wild pitch to give the Seawolves a seemingly comfortable 6-3 lead, but the three-run cushion would prove insufficient.
It was in the seventh inning that the Stony Brook bullpen woes caught up to them, as the unit surrendering six runs in the inning to cost them the game.
In the bottom half of the inning Stony Brook had a 6-3 lead until their bullpen began to burn them once again. With two men on and no outs, junior first baseman Brett Hash sent the ball over the left field wall for a three-run home run to tie the game. The Terriers totaled six runs in the inning to put themselves up, 9-6.
The Seawolves fought back with two runs on an RBI single from sophomore second baseman Andruw Gazzola and Giles score on a wild pitch but were unable to finish mounting a comeback.
Wofford senior closer Will Stillman was called from the bullpen midway through the eighth inning and retired Stony Brook’s final five batters, sealing the game for the Terriers.
Stony Brook finished the weekend tournament on Sunday, when the team played USC Upstate. The Seawolves lost the game, 8-6 despite two RBIs from Baker. Senk’s team will head to Waco, Texas this weekend for a three-game series with Baylor.