The Stony Brook baseball team entered the final weekend of its regular season still in the running for the No. 1 seed in the America East conference. The team needed to sweep its opponent, UMass Lowell, and hope that Maine would sweep Hartford to force a tie in the standings. Unfortunately for Stony Brook, neither qualifier occurred, as Hartford won two out of three in its series and Stony Brook dropped its final two games.
The first game of the series on Friday, May 18 was a pitcher’s duel from the start. River Hawks senior starting pitcher Andrew Ryan held the Seawolves hitless through seven innings, striking out seven batters along the way. Seawolves redshirt-sophomore starting pitcher Greg Marino tossed seven innings of shutout baseball, the fourth consecutive time Marino has thrown seven innings.
Marino had to work out of several jams to hold onto the shutout, however. UMass Lowell loaded the bases in the first inning with just one out, but Marino forced a weak pop up to shortstop and a fly ball to right field to escape unharmed. Marino allowed the first two batters in the fourth inning to reach base before earning another pop out to short and a 4-6-3 double play to evade trouble.
Ryan blinked first in the duel, putting a still-hitless Stony Brook on the scoreboard in the seventh inning. Senior outfielder Andruw Gazzola led off the inning with a five-pitch walk and reached second base on a sacrifice bunt from senior infielder Bobby Honeyman. Honeyman reached base on the third baseman’s error, and sophomore outfielder Chris Hamilton bunted both runners forward into scoring position. Sophomore outfielder Michael Wilson lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score Gazzola, giving the Seawolves a 1-0 lead.
Junior outfielder Cristian Montes ended the no-hitter in the eighth inning with a leadoff single. He was erased on junior outfielder Dylan Resk’s fielder’s choice in the next at-bat, after which Resk stole second base. Resk advanced to third on the pitcher’s throwing error, and sophomore infielder Nick Grande scored him on a single through the left side. The Seawolves loaded the bases in the ninth against the River Hawks bullpen, and freshman catcher John Tuccillo lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to make it 3-0. Senior closer Aaron Pinto completed a six-out save for his 11th save of the season.
The second game of the series on Friday quickly went south for Stony Brook. Sophomore starting pitcher Brian Herrmann was only able to record one out in the game, exiting after surrendering a double, two singles, a walk and a wild pitch. Redshirt-sophomore pitcher Aaron Glickstein entered the 1-0 game and escaped Herrmann’s jam, forcing a foul out and picking up a strikeout to end the inning.
Glickstein gave the Seawolves 4.1 quality innings despite the early entrance, lasting until senior pitcher Teddy Rodliff relieved him to start the sixth inning. Glickstein allowed one run which came in the third inning. The pitcher walked the leadoff batter and gave up a double to junior infielder Steve Passatempo. Redshirt-sophomore catcher Austin Young singled home the run in the next at-bat, giving the River Hawks a 2-0 lead they wouldn’t surrender.
Stony Brook’s best chance to break the shutout came in the fifth inning. Tuccillo singled through the left side with one out and advanced to second on a misplayed fielder’s choice. Junior infielder Brandon Janofsky singled through the right side to load the bases, but Grande popped up in the next at-bat to end the inning.
The Seawolves had one last opportunity in the seventh inning. Montes worked an eight-pitch walk with one out to bring the tying run to the plate and stole second to get into scoring position. Junior infielder Brandon Alamo walked on five pitches to bring the winning run to the plate, but Janofsky popped out and Grande struck out looking to end the game.
The finale of the series on Saturday, May 19 was an offensive explosion that quickly fizzled out. The fireworks started in the bottom of the second inning with junior starting pitcher Bret Clarke on the mound. Clarke started the inning with a strikeout but walked the next batter he faced. Freshman infielder Joey Castellanos singled to advance the runner, and senior catcher Nick Barry singled home the lead runner in the next at-bat. Senior outfielder Colby Maiola followed up with a triple down the left field line, scoring both runners, before coming home on a sacrifice fly to give UMass Lowell a quick 4-0 lead.
Stony Brook immediately struck back in the third inning. Montes started the inning by reaching first base on an error and went to second on another error two batters later. Grande took full advantage of the extra base-runner, launching a three-run home run to cut the lead to 4-3.
The scoring slowed down from there, as both teams’ bullpens managed to limit further damage. The Seawolves gave up one more run in the seventh to make it 5-3, allowing a one-out walk to reach third base before being singled home off the bat of junior outfielder Michael Young.
Rodliff made an appearance in the seventh inning for his 76th career outing, setting a program record for appearances by any Stony Brook pitcher.
The series loss dropped Stony Brook to fourth in the America East final standings with a 12-12 conference record. The Seawolves opened up conference tournament play on Wednesday, May 23 with a 2-1 win against the No. 5 seed Maine Black Bears at Mahaney Diamond in Orono, Maine.