Stony Brook Baseball played the first three-game series of its season this weekend, winning one of three on the road against Presbyterian. The Seawolves are now 1-5 on the season.
Game 1 — Presbyterian 7, Stony Brook 6
Stony Brook’s losing streak stretched to four on Friday, when the team lost 7-6 in heartbreaking fashion to Presbyterian in Clinton, South Carolina.
It all went wrong in the bottom of the ninth when a leadoff walk came back to bite the Seawolves. Presbyterian senior centerfielder Tyler Weyenberg drew a walk on six pitches battling back from a 1-2 count. Following the walk, senior second baseman Cletis Avery laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Weyenberg over to second.
With Weyenberg on second, Stony Brook manager Matt Senk had junior relief pitcher Aaron Pinto issue an intentional walk. With runners on first and second, sophomore first baseman Connor Slagill stepped into the box with a chance to end the game. Slagill hit a ground ball at Seawolves shortstop Jeremy Giles, who couldn’t field the ball cleanly, allowing Weyenberg to come all the way around to score the walk-off run on an error.
The Seawolves offense scored more runs Friday than they did in all three games last week combined. Stony Brook showed significant improvement at the plate; the three-run second inning was particularly strong. Senior catcher David Real and sophomore second baseman Brandon Janofsky — the eighth and ninth hitters in the batting order — drove in the runs giving the Seawolves an early 3-1 lead.
Stony Brook starting pitcher Bret Clarke labored hard through 5.2 innings, throwing 90 pitches. Clarke did everything that could be asked of a starter; he left the game with a 3-2 lead. After Clarke was relieved by last season’s closer, junior Teddy Rodliff, in the bottom of the sixth, the Blue Hose mounted a fierce rally that tied the game at six.
Game 2 — Stony Brook 8, Presbyterian 3
Stony Brook finally got the monkey off its back and earned its first win of the season on Saturday at Presbyterian, winning 8-3 in 11 innings.
Like the first game in the series, the Seawolves were right there in a tight game going into the ninth inning. The Seawolves were leading 3-2 going into the bottom of the ninth inning when senior pitcher Cam Stone, returning from a missed 2016 season due to Tommy John surgery, looked to shut the door on the Blue Hose.
But it was not to be. Slagill reached on a single to left and was subsequently pinch-run for by redshirt junior Guy Casaceli. Stone then surrendered a wild pitch, allowing Casaceli to score from second after being bunted over.
There, the Seawolves allowed runs in the ninth inning late in a game for the second straight day. That ninth inning grew even more tense as the Blue Hose had runners at second and third with two outs, forcing Stone to really dig down. He battled Blue Hose first baseman AJ Priaulx to a full count before striking him out and giving his team a chance to pick him up.
The Seawolves’ bats had no problem doing so.
After a silent 10th inning where both teams were retired 1-2-3, the action picked up. With one out in the top of the 11th, junior left fielder Andruw Gazzola lined a triple into the gap in left-center field, setting the table for a massive rally. In the top of the 11th inning, the Seawolves scored five runs on three hits, including a two-RBI triple by senior first baseman Casey Baker. Baker tore the cover off the ball, going 3-for-6 with two triples and three RBIs in a dominant performance at the plate.
In his first career start for Stony Brook, freshman pitcher Sam Turcotte put on an impressive display. His pitch count crept high — he was at 89 pitches when he was pulled after 4.2 innings — but only after allowing one run on five hits with an impressive six strikeouts.
Game 3 — Presbyterian 2, Stony Brook 1
In a weekend that finally saw the team’s bats come alive, Stony Brook’s rubber match against Presbyterian saw a 2-1 loss in a pitchers duel. The Seawolves had no answers for senior left handed starter Hayden Deal against whom they only mustered a single run.
For as little offense as the team generated, Stony Brook could hang its hat on the brilliant first start of freshman pitcher Brian Herrmann’s career. Herrmann threw a gem in a losing effort. He went 6.2 innings allowing two runs, one of which was unearned on a fielding error. The freshman made a valiant effort getting as deep as he did in the game on an economical 87 pitches.
After yesterday’s game, which saw the Seawolves’ bats carry them to a win and pick up their pitching, they were left confounded by Deal. He struck out 10 in 6.2 innings, allowing one run on three hits. The lone Stony Brook run came on a solo home run by sophomore designated hitter Dylan Resk, who hit a two-strike pitch over the center-field fence in the second inning.
Herrmann was relieved by right handed junior Nick Montefusco, who came in for the second straight game in relief without allowing a run. Montefusco ran into trouble in the bottom of the eighth when a pair of singles and an intentional walk had the Blue Hose with the bases loaded and two outs.
Luckily for the Seawolves, freshman shortstop Nick Grande was able to play a groundball with the bases loaded. He took it himself to the bag and recorded the force out, ensuring that there would be no rally in the bottom of the eighth.
Stony Brook returns to action this Friday against the University of Central Florida in Orlando at 6:30 p.m., the first of a three-game series.