Baseball America named Stony Brook Baseball’s freshman class one of 16 “under-the-radar” recruitment classes of 2017. Though the Seawolves have not gotten off to a bright start this season, losing eight of their first nine games, the performance and development of the team’s freshmen have been a bright spot amid bleakness.
“We were excited about the class we have brought in,” head coach Matt Senk said. “So far they have made the most of their opportunities. Just about every guy is doing well.”
Freshman infielder Michael Wilson got the ball rolling in his first week as a Seawolf, winning the first America East Rookie of the Week Award of the season. The Boston Red Sox drafted Wilson in the 15th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, but the New Jersey native chose not to sign in favor of attending Stony Brook.
“Stony Brook gave me the next chance to develop for the next four years and the best chance to win a regional,” Wilson said of his decision.
Wilson has taken college baseball by storm. He is currently leading the Seawolves in stolen bases, base hits, doubles, runs scored and batting average nine games into the season. Wilson also currently leads the America East with five stolen bases.
“Mike is clearly a very good hitter,” head coach Matt Senk said. “I think that’s why the Red Sox drafted him out of high school. We are really pleased with what he’s doing and we don’t see any reason why he won’t keep that up.”
So far in the early 2017 season, Senk has relied on freshman pitchers Sam Turcotte and Brian Herrmann to fill out the rest of the pitching rotation behind sophomore pitcher Bret Clarke, who won the America East Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 as a freshman. Senk is hoping he can get similar production out of this year’s freshman starting pitchers.
“If Bret made the most of that opportunity, if Brian, Sam and the rest of the freshman make the most of it when they get the opportunity, then they will get playing time. It is pretty much that simple,” Senk said.
Herrmann, a Northport, New York resident, has sailed through his first two starts with the Seawolves. He became the first Seawolf to pitch into the seventh inning this season when he faced off against Presbyterian on Feb. 26. Herrmann allowed just one earned run to couple four strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work, but was unable to earn the win, as his team fell 2-1.
“I don’t lose my focus a lot,” Herrmann said of his pitching style. “I am very cool and collected on the mound and I think that’s one of my biggest strengths.”
He followed up his first performance by holding the University of Central Florida to two runs and recording four strikeouts in six innings. Herrmann currently leads Stony Brook starting pitchers with a 1.80 earned run average.
Sam Turcotte, or “Big Turk,” stands at a towering 6-foot-5-inches and is currently the ‘Saturday starter’ for the Seawolves. Like his teammate, senior outfielder Toby Handley, Turcotte was recruited out of Ontario where he had worked with some of the same coaches that taught Handley.
His 14 strikeouts currently lead the team. Turcotte earned his first collegiate win on Feb. 25 against Presbyterian, allowing one run in 4.2 innings while striking out six batters.
“I felt good. Coming out, this was my first start so I was a bit nervous, but it was more excitement I thought,” Turcotte said of his performance. “I thought I pitched pretty well and kept [Presbyterian] to a minimum.”
Coach Senk does not discriminate against class; they are all ball players with the same expectations.
“We bring players in right away,” Senk said. “We give them that opportunity.”