The Stony Brook baseball team entered the America East tournament as the only club with a winning overall record, but a 12-12 conference record awarded it the No. 4 seed.
The Seawolves opened the tournament Wednesday, May 23 with a 2-1 victory over the Maine Black Bears, before falling to the top-seeded Hartford Hawks on Thursday, May 24.
Redshirt-sophomore starting pitcher Greg Marino entered the game on a roll, recording four consecutive seven-inning starts and pitching another gem on Wednesday. Marino allowed one run on six hits through seven innings, walking one batter and striking out five. He threw an efficient 83 pitches in the outing, pitching aggressively to hitters and earning quick outs.
Stony Brook took the lead early as sophomore outfielder Michael Wilson lined a single to right-center field off Maine senior starting pitcher John Arel, and freshman catcher John Tuccillo worked a five-pitch walk to advance Wilson into scoring position in the second inning. Junior outfielder Cristian Montes reached second base on an error after the right fielder misplayed a fly ball. The second baseman’s relay throw went wide, allowing Tuccillo to reach third and Wilson to score. Junior infielder Brandon Alamo lifted a sacrifice fly to center that scored Tuccillo and gave Stony Brook a 2-0 lead.
Maine partially closed the gap in the fourth, putting Marino in a jam. Sophomore outfielder Hernen Sardinas led off the inning with a double down the right field line, and senior catcher Christopher Bec worked an eight-pitch walk in the next at-bat. Senior catcher Jonathan Bennett singled through the right side two batters later to load the bases, and senior outfielder Brandon Vicens lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Sardinas and cutting the lead to 2-1.
Marino bounced back, preventing any more runners from reaching third base from the fifth inning onward. Senior pitcher Aaron Pinto relieved him to start the eighth inning for what would be his fifth six-out save of the season. Pinto surrendered a leadoff double to start the eighth, but retired the next six batters he faced. Pinto completed his 15th career save in the outing, moving him into sole possession of the school’s all-time saves record.
The second game of the tournament pitted Stony Brook against the No. 1 seed, Hartford. The Seawolves took two out of three from the Hawks in the regular season, but didn’t fare as well in Thursday’s matchup. Sophomore starting pitcher Brian Herrmann took the mound looking to bounce back from his worst outing of the season against UMass Lowell. He pitched well, going seven innings and allowing two runs, but the offense failed to back him up.
Hartford jumped onto the scoreboard quickly, getting to Herrmann in the second inning. Senior infielder TJ Ward lined a single to left field, and advanced to second on a single from sophomore infielder Jackson Olson. Herrmann worked a 5-4-3 double play to get the first two outs, but freshman infielder Drew DeMartino singled through the right side to bring home Ward and give Hartford a 1-0 lead.
Herrmann settled into a groove afterward, getting through the next three innings unharmed. He almost completed a clean sixth inning, striking out the first two batters before running into trouble again. Ward drove the second pitch he saw down the right field line for a triple, and Olson followed up with a double along the left field line to drive Ward in and put the Hawks up 2-0.
Meanwhile, the Stony Brook offense failed to find its rhythm. The team never collected multiple hits in any inning of the game, and struggled to find baserunners. Their biggest chance came in the fifth inning, when sophomore outfielder Chris Hamilton led off with a single through the left side. Hamilton stole second and advanced to third on a pop-out to center. Hartford sophomore starting pitcher Nathan Florence struck out the next batter, but hit two consecutive Seawolves with pitches to load the bases. Junior infielder Brandon Janofsky lined out to end the threat.
The Seawolves had another shot in the sixth inning when Florence exited the game with runners on first and second and two outs. Sophomore pitcher Drew Farkas came on in relief and promptly stuck out Wilson to end the inning. The Seawolves managed to get only one hit against the Hawks’ bullpen, briefly bringing the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning before suffering three straight outs to end the game.
The loss to Hartford drops Stony Brook to the tournament’s loser’s bracket. No. 2 seed UMass Lowell defeated the No. 6 seed Albany on Thursday, May 24, so Stony Brook will play Friday, May 25 against Maine.