Stony Brook Baseball suffered a three-game sweep to the No. 13-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks in the final road trip to the southern United States this season, dropping their record to 3–6. The series was originally slated to have one game each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but concerns about frigid snowy weather on Sunday led to the scheduling of a Friday doubleheader and an hour-early change of Saturday’s first pitch time.
“We have learned quite a bit about ourselves these first three weekends,” head coach Matt Senk said in a press release, “We’re very optimistic about our chances over the remaining three months of the season.”
Redshirt-junior pitcher Greg Marino earned the start in the first game of the series, as he has done so all season. Marino dazzled early, taking a perfect game into the fifth inning by retiring the first twelve Arkansas batters. However, Razorbacks junior outfielder Dominic Fletcher doubled to right center leading off the bottom of the fifth, breaking up Marino’s bid. Fletcher advanced off a single and a fielder’s choice brought him home, giving Arkansas a 1-0 lead.
Marino was pulled in the sixth inning after surrendering a double and a triple gave the Razorbacks a two-run lead. Junior reliever Adam Erickson could not stop the push, allowing Marino’s inherited runner to score on a wild pitch.
Meanwhile, Arkansas redshirt-junior pitcher Isaiah Campbell mesmerized the Stony Brook lineup by pitching seven strikeout innings and punching out 13 batters. The Seawolves got on the board in the top of the eighth when senior outfielder Dylan Resk homered to left field to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Stony Brook put up a fight in the ninth against Arkansas junior closer Matt Cronin after freshman infielder Evan Giordano led off the inning with a single to right field. Two batters later, junior outfielder Michael Wilson hit a slow dribbler to third to put men on first and second with one out. After sophomore catcher John Tuccillo struck out, senior infielder Brandon Alamo walked to load the bases. The rally was all for naught, as senior catcher Sean Buckhout went down swinging and handed Arkansas the 3-1 victory in Game 1.
Stony Brook’s offense started out hotter in Game 2, scoring two runs in the top of the first. Junior infielder Nick Grande hit a double down the left field line, advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt, and was brought home on a sacrifice fly. Wilson then hit a two-out home run, his fourth of the season.
However, the Seawolves would give those runs right back. Junior starting pitcher Brian Herrmann coughed up two in the bottom of the second and another in the bottom of the third. In the top of the fourth, singles by Buckhout and Alamo put men on first and third with no one out. Although Resk fouled out and Tuccillo went down looking, senior infielder Brandon Janofsky poked a single through the infield to drive in Buckhout and tie the game at 3.
Razorbacks sophomore outfielder Heston Kjerstad reached on a leadoff double to begin the fifth and came home after a groundout and a sacrifice fly to give the his team the 4-3 lead. The score would hold. While the Seawolves would again put the winning run in scoring position in the top of the ninth, Giordano struck out swinging with Tuccillo on third and Grande on second to end game two of the doubleheader.
Saturday’s season finale was more of the same for Stony Brook. Although three hits by Grande, Wilson and Buckhout scored two runs for the Seawolves in the top of the first, freshman pitcher Nick DeGennaro allowed four runs on four hits in the bottom half of the frame. DeGennaro, making his first career start for the Seawolves, gave up six runs in 3.1 innings pitched. After Stony Brook cut the lead to 4-3 on a bases-loaded fourth inning walk by Wilson, the Arkansas offense would explode for 11 unanswered runs to take a 15-3 lead. Four garbage-time runs scored by Stony Brook in the top of the ninth would bring the final score to a more respectable, 15-7 defeat.
In the midst of a four-game losing streak, Stony Brook will now begin a six-game homestand, all against local opponents. Their next opponent is the Manhattan Jaspers, who currently have a 2–6 record. The game will begin on Tuesday, Mar. 5 at 3 p.m. at Joe Nathan Field.