Stony Brook Baseball traveled down to Louisiana for its opening four-game series against Nicholls State this past weekend. The Seawolves went 3-1 in the series, winning the first three games before falling in the final game on Monday night.
The finale was a disappointing end to a great opening series for the Seawolves. The team jumped out to a five-run lead in the first four innings, hitting four consecutive doubles in the third inning alone. Unfortunately for Stony Brook, Nicholls State began a rally in the bottom of the fourth that Stony Brook couldn’t contain.
Things got out of hand in the bottom of the sixth inning, at which point the Seawolves lead had already been cut to two runs. Seven Colonels reached base, aided in part by a throwing error, and six scored to give the Colonels a four-run lead.
Junior infielder Brandon Alamo briefly brought Stony Brook back into the game in the next inning, when he launched a solo home run to right field for his second bomb of the season. Nicholls State’s offense would not be stopped, however, as they drove in four more runs to salvage the finale of the series.
In his press release, head coach Matt Senk had a positive view of the series despite the poor ending, and was satisfied with the overall result.
“We put ourselves in position to have a great weekend,” Senk said. “But unfortunately came up short tonight. However, this series was overall a very, very good start to the season.”
The third game of the series was blown open late by the Seawolves capitalizing on the Colonels’ mistakes. Holding onto a one-run lead in the ninth inning, Alamo and sophomore outfielder Chris Hamilton worked back-to-back walks and were advanced into scoring position by a sacrifice bunt from sophomore infielder Nick Grande. Junior outfielder Cristian Montes then put the ball into play, forcing a poor throw from the Colonels that allowed both runs to score.
The extra runs were more than enough support for senior left-handed pitcher Cole Creighton, who completed his first career save by going four innings strong. Creighton earned four strikeouts while allowing two walks and one run, throwing 76 pitches.
Creighton came on in relief of sophomore right-handed pitcher Brian Herrmann, who struggled with his pitch control throughout the night. Herrmann allowed six walks in five innings, including three in the first inning when he allowed two runs to score. Both runners got on via walks, and were driven in by Colonels senior infielder Gage Teer.
The Stony Brook offense quickly bailed Herrmann out, and got him in line for the victory. Montes tied the game in the second inning with a single through the right side, then scored thanks to a bases-loaded balk. The team scored the go-ahead run in the seventh, as Grande knocked in Alamo on a fielder’s choice.
The victory secured the series win for Stony Brook, and gave the team its best start to a season since 2012, when it went on a wild run to the College World Series.
The second game of the four-game series was another nail biter. The Seawolves got out to an early lead but blew a three-run advantage and went into the ninth inning tied at four runs apiece. Freshman infielder Michael Palazzolo played the part of hero, knocking in the winning run in the top of the ninth with a single through the left side. Hamilton scored from second base, barely beating the tag at home plate.
Junior right-handed pitcher Bret Clarke took the mound for Stony Brook and was sharp in his first game since tearing his UCL at the end of last season. Clarke went four innings, striking out four and walking one, while keeping Nicholls State off the scoreboard.
The middle innings after Clarke exited the game proved to be troublesome for the Seawolves’ bullpen. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Brandon Bonanno threw three innings, and ran into issues in each one. In the fifth inning, he quickly worked into a bases loaded, one out jam, but escaped with just one run allowed.
A wild pitch put Colonels senior outfielder Chet Niehaus in position to score on a grounder to second base in the sixth. Senior catcher Kyle Knauth blasted a solo home run to right field the next inning after Bonanno had gotten the first two batters to strike out.
Redshirt-sophomore right-handed pitcher Aaron Glickstein relieved Bonnano for the eighth inning, though he also did not escape unharmed. After recording the first two outs, Glickstein was taken deep by Niehaus along the right field line, tying the game.
Palazzolo would give Stony Brook their lead back, but it was threatened one more time in the ninth inning. senior right-handed pitcher Aaron Pinto came on for the save, but allowed a leadoff single to sophomore catcher Dillon Belle, who advanced to second on a grounder. The runner then got to third off a wild pitch, before Pinto struck out Knauth to close out the game.
In a closely contested first game that saw neither team take larger than a two-run lead, Pinto closed the door on Nicholls State in the ninth to secure the victory.
Senior infielder Bobby Honeyman got the Seawolves offense rolling, driving in three runs on two hits, including a two-run single in the third inning to give the Seawolves their first lead. Alamo knocked in the eventual go-ahead run in the sixth inning when he took Colonels junior right-handed pitcher Jacob Bedevian deep to right field.
Stony Brook’s starter for the night was redshirt-sophomore right-handed pitcher Greg Marino, an America East All-Rookie last season, who had a decent outing. Marino pitched four innings and gave up four runs, three being unearned. He struck out four and walked one while throwing 75 pitches before being pulled for Creighton.
At the time, it seemed that the errors that allowed those unearned runs might have been enough to doom the Seawolves. Head coach Matt Senk talked about the mistakes his team made in a press release after the game.
“Despite our best efforts to try and beat ourselves early in the game we preserved,” Senk said. “Played hard and came up with a hard fought victory to start the season on a high note.”
With the series against Nicholls State completed, the Seawolves will prepare for their next trip, a weekend slate of games from Feb. 23 to 25 against Iona, Sacred Heart, and Norfolk State.