The Stony Brook baseball team hosted Maine in a three-game series at Joe Nathan Field this past weekend. The Seawolves hit four home runs and walked 27 times in the series sweep of the Black Bears. The Seawolves’ overall record sits at 20-21.
Game One: Stony Brook 6, Maine 3
In the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Seawolves were led by home runs from senior first baseman Casey Baker and freshman designated hitter Michael Wilson. But another solid performance from sophomore starting pitcher Bret Clarke was the story of the game.
He threw six and a third innings, allowing eight hits and three runs while recording five strikeouts en route to a 6-3 series-opening win over Maine.
“I think he’s back,” head coach Matt Senk said about the pitcher. “This game is not easy, and he got off to a rough start. But we believe in Bret, and that’s why we kept running him out there. We knew he was capable of this, and we think the tough part of the year is behind him.”
Stony Brook scored the first two runs of the game on home runs from Baker and Wilson in the fourth and fifth inning respectively. It was both players’ fourth home run of the year, typing senior center fielder Toby Handley for second on the team in long balls.
Sophomore right fielder Dylan Resk and senior second baseman Jermey Giles both drove in a run on walks in the sixth inning. Sophomore catcher Sean Buckhout hit a two-run double the following at-bat, giving Stony Brook a 6-1 lead. He made two starts behind the plate for the second week in a row while a healthy senior catcher David Real played just one game.
Black Bear senior right fielder Tyler Schwanz hit a home run off Clarke in the sixth inning.
Maine was able to score two runs via sacrifice fly and a solo home run by freshman catcher Cody Pasic in the seventh, but Stony Brook was able to hold on and win the first game of the doubleheader.
Game Two: Stony Brook 4, Maine 3
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the eighth inning, Handley stepped up to plate in a bases loaded situation.
Four pitches later, Handley was walking to first base as the winning run walked across home plate. The Seawolves defeated the Black Bears in the second game, 4-3.
“[Maine’s senior relief pitcher Jeff Gelinas] was pitching well,” Handley said. “It looked like he was getting tired at the end and he started walking people. But I just take the same approach each time, look for a ball I can hit hard, and luckily he threw four balls.”
The center fielder’s sharp eye at the plate has helped him all season. The game-winning walk was his 39th of the year. Cole Peragine, Handley’s former teammate, holds the single-season school record, 49 walks in a season in 2015.
The walk was preceded by a game-tying two-run home run from Resk. The bomb was his eleventh of the season.
However, the Seawolves never led in the game prior to Handley’s game-winning walk. The Black Bears scored off a double by junior designated hitter Christopher Bec and a home run from junior center fielder Brandon Vicens in the first inning and second inning respectively, giving Maine a 2-0 lead.
Handley smacked a home run over the right field wall in the third inning to trim the Maine lead to 2-1, but Maine’s freshman first baseman Hernen Sardinas doubled home a run in the fourth to increase the Black Bears to 3-1. After four home runs this weekend, Stony Brook has 27 total long balls this season. The Seawolves had just 22 homes runs in the past two seasons combined.
Freshman pitcher Brian Herrmann allowed seven hits and three runs to couple a season-high eight strikeouts, despite not earning the win. Junior relief pitcher Teddy Rodliff pitched two shutout innings, surrendering one hit and a walk, and had two strikeouts. Rodliff earned his fourth win of the season following Handley’s walk.
Game Three: Stony Brook 12, Maine 6
The walking continued as Stony Brook reached base on balls more times than they scored during Sunday’s matinee, finishing with 13.
The Seawolves had five RBIs from bases loaded walks throughout the game, becoming the team’s greatest offensive weapon in the game. The Black Bears buried themselves deep into a whole with all the early walks as Stony Brook won the game 12-6.
Handley and Buckhout combined for half of Stony Brook’s 12 runs and each had three RBIs. The catcher recorded two of his three RBIs from bases loaded walks in addition to an RBI single in the sixth inning.
“I was seeing [the plate] really well today,” Buckhout said. “My last time up I didn’t really get anything. But I just saw a pitch I can hit and did the best I could with it.”
After Maine scored off an RBI single from Schwanz in the first inning, Stony Brook bounced back to score 10 runs in the next two innings alone.
The Seawolves scored five times from bases loaded walks while Resk, Handley and freshman shortstop Nick Grande recorded base hits that brought in four other runs. A wild pitch by Black Bears junior relief pitcher John Arel concluded the scoring outburst by the Seawolves.
Maine’s freshman starting pitcher Trevor Delaite only threw 21 pitches, walking four straight batters, giving up three runs while recording no outs.
Senior second baseman Jeremy Giles led the Seawolves with three walks on the day, with one walk resulting in an RBI.
Stony Brook’s junior starting pitcher Kevin Kernan was a stabilizing force on the mound, giving up five runs on nine hits while recording six strikeouts in six innings pitched. He earned the win in his first weekend start of the season.