The Stony Brook baseball team hit the road for a conference series against the Hartford Hawks this past weekend. Sitting at third place in the America East, the Seawolves were looking to bolster their record as the regular season begins to wind down. However, things did not go in their favor, as the Hawks swept all three weekend games, including two walk-offs hits from Hartford junior shortstop Ben Bengston.
Game One: Hartford 7, Stony Brook 3
Stony Brook was able to get the ball rolling in the third inning. With two outs, the Seawolves were able to put up three runs. Sophomore infielder Brandon Janofsky, senior first baseman Casey Baker and junior infielder Bobby Honeyman all recorded RBI singles in the inning to give Stony Brook an early 3-0 lead.
These were the only runs the Seawolves could muster for the rest of the game, and Stony Brook fell 7-3.
Redshirt freshman pitcher Greg Marino got the starting nod for the opening game of the series. He pitched a shutout through the first two innings, but in the third inning, he collapsed. The freshman gave up five runs in the bottom of third. Bengston hit a sacrifice fly to right field, and a few batters later, junior third baseman T.J. Ward hit a grand slam to give the Hawks a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, the freshman gave up two more runs. Those runs were scored thanks to a RBI single from Bengston, before head coach Matt Senk pulled him from the game. His ERA jumped from a 3.78 to a 5.11 after giving up seven runs in three and two thirds innings, in the loss to open the series.
Game Two: Hartford 5, Stony Brook 4
Bengston was the hero for the Hawks in the second game of the doubleheader. The shortstop hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at four. He won the game with his next at-bat in the tenth inning, sending a single to left field to bring home the winning run.
Stony Brook took a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning after sophomore right fielder Dylan Resk hit his ninth home run of the season. However, his go-ahead home run was not enough for the Seawolves to win the second game of the doubleheader.
The score was tied 1-1 after two innings before Hartford took over in the fifth. Ward homered off freshman pitcher Brian Herrmann, his second home run of the weekend. He finished the series with two home runs and five RBIs. Herrmann was replaced by junior pitcher Aaron Pinto in the fifth inning, who allowed one more run to give the Hartford a 3-1 lead.
But Stony Brook answered back in the seventh. Senior centerfielder Toby Handley hit a single into centerfield to bring home redshirt freshman designated hitter Michael Wilson, cutting the deficit to 3-2. In the next at-bat, Baker would reach first on a fielder’s choice as the tying run crossed the plate.
Junior pitcher Teddy Rodliff relieved Pinto in the bottom of the eighth, surrendering the game-winning single to Bengston in the bottom of the tenth. The hit gave the Hawks their second victory of the day by a final score of 5-4.
Game Three: Hartford 6, Stony Brook 5
The Seawolves were looking to avoid a series sweep on Sunday afternoon, but Bengston had other plans. For the second consecutive game the shortstop had a walk-off hit. However, this time he ended the game by belting a solo home run over the left field wall.
Despite losing the game, sophomore pitcher Bret Clarke proved to be effective on Sunday, only allowing Hartford to score one run before the seventh inning. The righty gave up three hits and one run while striking out five batters in six innings pitched. Clarke currently has a 1.05 ERA over his last three starts in addition to 20 strikeouts. Because of his strong play on the mound lately, his ERA has dropped from a 9.74 to 6.66 since April 1.
Stony Brook put up a combined five runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and Resk was able to get in on the action again. In the fifth inning, he hit his tenth home run of the season, a two-run shot to give the Seawolves a 3-1 lead. The sophomore is the first Stony Brook Baseball player since Michael Stephan in 2010 to hit 10 home runs in a single season.
Freshman pitcher Sam Turcotte relieved Clarke in the sixth, but he gave up four runs in the bottom of the seventh that allowed the Hawks to tie the game 5-5. No more runs were scored until the ninth inning, when Bengston hit the walk-off home run. He finished the day with three hits and two RBIs, and Hartford swept Stony Brook 5-4.