Head coach Matt Senk called for a suicide squeeze bunt in a tie game with senior outfielder Casey Baker, the runner on third base, in the bottom of the ninth inning. Manhattan’s pitcher threw a pitch-out, catching Baker in a rundown between third base and home plate.
Manhattan claimed to tag him, but Baker said he never felt it. He then swiftly crossed home plate to score the winning run, effectively uncontested because Manhattan was convinced he was out.
“I’m gonna be honest. He definitely didn’t tag me,” Baker said after the game. “But a blown squeeze? You never want that to happen. We definitely had to improvise a little bit and we definitely got pretty lucky.”
The umpires gathered following Manhattan head coach Jim Duffy’s outcry — “You cannot allow a college baseball game to end like this!” — while both teams stood on the field awaiting the final decision. However, the umpires determined Baker was never tagged while on the third baseline as the Jaspers had argued. The play was ruled a stolen base.
Stony Brook Baseball defeated Manhattan 11-10 on Tuesday at Joe Nathan Field. The Seawolves improve their overall record to 6-12 and have now won two consecutive games.
“We had a squeeze on, but once the catcher went for ball four I was a little surprised that [Baker] didn’t abort the squeeze,” Senk said. “In a lot of ways we were lucky to get a win today.”
The Seawolves had a 10-1 lead prior to the start of the sixth inning. However, the Jaspers made a valiant comeback, erasing a nine-run deficit. Junior outfielder Brendan Bisset led his team with two hits and three RBIs. The Seawolves’ bullpen allowed nine runs in the game.
“Those guys clearly need to do a better job, they are capable of doing a better job, and I am really disappointed we let that big lead get away,” Senk said. “Our bullpen is clearly going to have to do better than that if we want to not put ourselves in position to blow a game.”
Despite the relief pitching implosion, freshman starting pitcher Greg Marino pitched well in his debut as a starting pitcher. Marino threw five innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight batters and walking one.
Stony Brook’s offense came storming out of the gate, scoring two runs in the first inning and four more in the second inning. Freshman shortstop Nick Grande continued to excel on Tuesday, finishing the game with three hits, two doubles and two RBIs. Grande has now played shortstop in each of his last three games, instead of senior Jeremy Giles, who played third base. He is struggling in 2017, batting a career-low .140.
The team is now 4-1 at home and will begin conference play on Saturday when they play host to the Hartford Hawks. Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at noon.
“I think we are doing good things at the plate,” Senk said. “I think the guys are excited to get conference play underway, especially at home.”