Traveling back from extensive road stints in the South, Stony Brook Baseball split its first two home games of the season, winning via a five-run eighth inning against the New York Institute of Technology on Tuesday and falling to Yale on Wednesday after letting up eight runs in the ninth.
Game One: Stony Brook 7, New York Institute of Technology, 2
Stony Brook Baseball entered the bottom of the eighth inning tied 2-2 with NYIT at Joe Nathan Field. The Seawolves’ first two batters both failed to reach base safely, but the third out did not come with such ease. Freshman third baseman Nick Grande hit a line drive to center field, which he boldly stretched into a double to put his team in position to take the lead.
The two-out hit from Grande was the beginning of a five-run onslaught that bolstered the Seawolves to a 7-2 win over the Bears, improving their record to 2-8 on the season.
Stony Brook’s senior catcher David Real followed Grande’s hit with a two-run home run over the left field wall, giving his team a decisive lead. Real reached base in all four of his plate appearances, collecting three hits and reaching base on an error.
“Those are the things that are going to take us far this year,” Real said about his team’s big eighth inning. “Coach Senk talks about it all the time: ‘Resilience, confidence and playing loose.’ Tonight, I think we displayed that nicely.”
Head coach Matt Senk did not manage the Seawolves on Tuesday because he was under the weather, according to Stony Brook Athletics. Associate head coach Joe Pennucci was at the helm instead.
Freshman designated hitter Michael Wilson raised eyebrows in the first inning by hitting a home run in his first ever at-bat at Joe Nathan Field. The at-bat displayed just why the Boston Red Sox drafted him in the 15th round in 2016. Wilson, a left-handed hitter, showed his strength by powering an opposite field home run over the left field wall.
“His fastball was right there,” Wilson said. “I kind of waited on it. It went in the air, and it just carried out.”
Wilson and Grande helped Stony Brook continue the early season trend of strong performances by freshmen on the team. Freshman outfielder Chris Hamilton hit an RBI double down the right field line in the seventh inning, tying the game at two apiece.
It was a low scoring game for the first seven innings. Junior pitcher Kevin Kernan started the game and threw four innings, allowing one earned run and striking out six batters before he was relieved in the fifth inning by junior pitcher Nick Montefusco.
Montefusco took over with two runners on base and no outs. He sailed through the fifth inning and went on to pitch the remaining four. Montefusco allowed three hits and one run while striking out two batters en route to his first win of the season.
Game Two: Yale 13, Stony Brook 3
Stony Brook followed up its first home win with a 13-3 loss to Yale at Joe Nathan Field. The Seawolves trailed by just two runs entering the ninth before the Bulldogs scored eight runs in the final inning. The team’s overall record fell to 2-9.
“We had 11 hits and scored only three runs. That’s hard to do,” Pennucci said. “We ran a couple good counts. Bases were loaded, guys were on base… We couldn’t get a big, but but they did.”
Yale second baseman Derek Brown’s bases clearing three-run triple into left-centerfield was the play that truly closed the door on Stony Brook, giving Yale a 10-3 lead. Brown finished with four RBIs.
Shortstop Dai Dai Otaka was also instrumental in Yale’s victory on Wednesday. He had four hits, two RBIs and crossed home plate three times.
The top of Stony Brook’s lineup was due to hit in the bottom of the ninth and attempt a feasible two run comeback. Wilson, who hit his second home run of the season in his first at-bat, would lead things off. But after Stony Brook let up eight runs in the ninth, hopes at a comeback were dissipated.
Wilson finished the game with three hits and two RBIs. The freshman standout now leads the team in home runs, hits, batting average and stolen bases.
“We stayed together well. It was really just that one bad inning,” Wilson said. “If we do a few more things right, it’s a whole different game.”
Freshman pitcher Greg Marino threw 5.1 innings of relief, allowing no runs and two hits. His strong outing helped his team remain within striking distance. However, freshman pitcher Brandon Bonanno started the top of the ninth inning and only managed one out and gave up seven runs.
“[Marino] came in, threw strikes and executed pitches,” Pennucci said. “He was the lone bright spot in the game.”
Both Senk and last year’s starting third baseman, junior Bobby Honeyman, missed their second consecutive games. Senk has been under the weather but is “feeling better today,” according to Pennucci, and the team hopes to have him back by the weekend. Honeyman has also been “resting” the last few days, Pennucci said, and is expected to be back this weekend.
This weekend’s scheduled home series against LIU Brooklyn, originally scheduled to begin on Friday, has been moved up due to weather concerns, according to Stony Brook Athletics. The series will now begin on Thursday at 12 p.m. with a doubleheader, and the final game will begin on Friday at 3 p.m..