Stony Brook Baseball has a flare for the dramatic. For the second time in this year’s America East Tournament, the Seawolves won in walk-off fashion Friday night. This time it was junior shortstop Jeremy Giles who delivered a bloop single into left field to score the game-winning run to complete Stony Brook’s ninth-inning, 3-2 comeback victory over Hartford.
With the win, the team will play in its third-consecutive America East Championship on Sunday at Edward A. LeLacheur Park. It needs two wins against Binghamton to claim the title.
After sophomore third baseman Bobby Honeyman’s walk-off home run on Wednesday against Maine to win and another four-run rally on Thursday against Hartford to take the lead, this team was ready for the ninth inning. Unlike that game on Friday, when the Hawks ultimately spoiled the Seawolves’ comeback, the Seawolves were able to exact vengeance on the Hawks with a game-winner.
Stony Brook had chances all game long, but was unable to capitalize, stranding 16 men on base in the game, but that changed in the ninth inning. Down 2-1 entering the inning, junior outfielder Casey Baker drove a single up the middle to get the ball rolling. Following two costly errors by the Hawks, one of which allowed the tying run to score, the bases were loaded for Giles with a chance to win it.
“I just tried to stay in the moment,” Giles said. “We had no quit in us.”
This was not the first time this season that he played the role of hero either. He hit an infield chopper to score his teammate from third base to defeat Maine back on April 2.
None of this would have been possible if it had not been for sophomore starting pitcher Kevin Kernan. Stony Brook was forced to start a pitcher outside of its normal three-man rotation because each of them had pitched in the last two days.
Kernan entered the game with only four career starts under his belt but he did not pitch like it. He pitched six innings, scattering eight hits and allowing just two runs, while striking out six batters to earn his second win of the season
“Really, I just trusted my defense,” Kernan said. “I just threw the ball where it need to be and let them make the plays.”
In the team’s first elimination game on Friday against Albany, head coach Matt Senk called on senior pitcher Tyler Honahan to start. He entered the game coming off of two scoreless outings against Maine and Albany.
Knowing the start could be the last of his collegiate career, Honahan was dominant through 6.2 innings pitched. The righty allowed just two runs while walking none and striking out nine Great Dane hitters. Honahan’s performance helped his team earn a 10-4 victory over rival Albany.
In the seventh inning, Albany senior second baseman Karson Canaday rattled the Stony Brook bullpen, hitting a two-run single to left field to tie the game. But the Seawolves were unfazed.
Baker got the eighth inning started with a single, followed by two other teammates to load the bases. With two outs in the inning, Giles broke the tie by ripping a single through the middle of the infield to score Baker, which was just one of the shortstop’s three hits. The team saw each player in the lineup bat in the inning, scoring four runs in total.
Baker had led off both of the Seawolves’ decisive innings with a single and has been red hot in recent weeks. After the two games played on Friday, in which he had a combined four hits, Baker extended his streak of reaching base safely to 24 games.
Seawolves senior first baseman Johnny Caputo hit his fifth home run of the season over the left field fence in the ninth inning to add on two more runs and bring the game to its final score.
The America East Championship against Binghamton will begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday. The Seawolves, coming out of the losers’ bracket, will have to beat the Bearcats twice to repeat as conference champions.