Stony Brook Baseball continued its recent hot streak by winning its fourth consecutive game on Tuesday, defeating the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds by a final score of 5-3 at Joe Nathan Field.
Sophomore shortstop Nick Grande led Stony Brook’s solid play. Grande constantly found ways to get on base. He went 2-for-4 at the plate, scoring three times and stealing two bases. Grande’s impressive performance comes after being named America East conference Player of the Week.
“Nick’s been terrific for us,” head coach Matt Senk said after the game. “He’s a tremendous leader and the best kind of leader, one who leads by example. The Player of the Week award was well-deserved.”
The Seawolves got off to a quick start in the first inning against Blackbirds freshman starting pitcher Nick Desalvo. Senior left fielder Andruw Gazzola got things going with a walk, followed by singles by both Grande and senior third baseman Bobby Honeyman to load the bases for Stony Brook. Sophomore first baseman Chris Hamilton grounded out, which plated Gazzola. Desalvo balked against the next batter, junior designated hitter Brandon Alamo, which would extend the Seawolves’ lead to 2-0.
LIU Brooklyn responded in the next inning. Three of their first four batters were walked by senior starting pitcher Kevin Kernan, resulting in Kernan being replaced with redshirt sophomore Aaron Glickstein. A fielder’s choice by Blackbirds’ junior left fielder Gregory Vaughn Jr. and a wild pitch by Glickstein tied the game at two after two innings.
Glickstein settled things down in the third, pitching a 1-2-3 inning that ended with him striking out junior catcher Brock Hallum. Stony Brook repaid Glickstein for his efforts with another productive round of at-bats. Grande started the rally with a walk and then stole second base. Sophomore right fielder Michael Wilson then came up and knocked a single to right field, scoring Grande. The Seawolves added one more run, making it a 4-2 game going into the fourth.
“We were just talking about having quality at-bats and getting good pitches to hit,” Grande said postgame. “We worked hard to get each at-bat to a hitter’s count, and I think we did a good job of that throughout the whole lineup today.”
Glickstein was pulled after putting runners on first and second to start the fourth inning. He was replaced with senior left handed pitcher Teddy Rodliff. Rodliff surrendered an RBI single to junior second baseman Anthony Warneke, cutting the Seawolves’ lead to 4-3, but he let up nothing else, otherwise, in the inning.
Grande started the bottom of the fifth with a double to left center. He ended up scoring to make it 5-3, which ended up being all that Stony Brook needed for the rest of the way. Rodliff settled down and provided solid relief, throwing nearly four innings of one-run ball and striking out three. After freshman pitcher Brian Morrisey pitched a scoreless eighth inning, senior pitcher Aaron Pinto came in for a 1-2-3 ninth inning and picked up his seventh save.
“We did enough offensively and played solid, errorless defense,” coach Senk said. “We pitched better as the game went on, right down to [Aaron] Pinto, who was lights out for the save.”
The win is the seventh straight against the Blackbirds, which brings the Seawolves’ overall record of the season to 13-9, including a home record of 7-5. Stony Brook’s home stand continues this weekend with a three-game series against conference-foe UMass Lowell at Joe Nathan Field. Based on their current play, the Seawolves appear ready for the challenge.
“Every series in conference play is going to be big,” Senk said. “But I think overall, we’re feeling confident about where we’re at and we’re looking forward to it.”