Sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick DeGennaro pitches during a home game against Fairfield on April 24, 2019. On Saturday night at Texas State, DeGennaro was done after seven innings, having hurled 97 pitches while striking out six and allowing only two hits. EMMA HARRIS/STATESMAN FILE

The Stony Brook baseball team flew away from the 30-degree weather of Long Island and landed in the warm climate of San Marcos to take on the Texas State Bobcats in the Seawolves’ opening series of the 2020 season. A pair of 1-run losses led to disappointment for Stony Brook, who won just one in the 4-game series that took place from Friday, Feb. 14 to Sunday, Feb. 16.

Starting pitching excelled for the Seawolves throughout the series, with the rotation combining for a 1.64 ERA in 22 innings. However, the offense never scored more than three runs in a game and had difficulty putting runs across the plate with men in scoring position.

Senior right-hander Jared Milch got the ball on Stony Brook’s Opening Day and he went five innings deep, striking out two and allowing just one unearned run. He departed with the game at a 1-1 tie as sophomore right-hander Ben Fero was called on to relieve Milch in the bottom of the sixth. Fero, who threw to a 2.19 ERA in 24.2 innings as a freshman, gave up a double and a walk before allowing a 3-run homer to Texas State redshirt-senior catcher Tucker Redden.

The round-tripper broke the tie and gave the Bobcats a 4-1 lead. RBI singles up the middle by freshman catcher Shane Paradine and sophomore infielder Evan Giordano in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, got the Seawolves back to within one. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth and men on first and second, Texas State called upon junior right-handed pitcher Tristan Stivors, who induced a pop-up to get out of the jam. In the ninth, Stivors set down Stony Brook in order, beginning the Seawolves’ season with a loss.

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The bats went cold in Game 2 of the series, the first of a Saturday doubleheader. The Seawolves’ starter was senior right-hander Sam Turcotte, who was moved into the rotation after serving as the team’s primary closer last season. Turcotte pitched effectively, recording five innings of 2-run ball, but received no help from his offense, recording the loss as he left with a 2-0 deficit Stony Brook never crawled out from.

Giordano provided the only life for the Seawolves, going 2-for-3 with a double. The rest of the Stony Brook lineup combined to bat 1-for-27 with no extra-base hits or walks. Right-handers junior Trevis Sundgren and freshman Otto Wofford combined to blank Stony Brook, with Sundgren lasting seven innings in his start. The Bobcats scored four more runs off of junior right-hander Brian Morrisey, who last pitched on May 2, 2018, to secure the 6-0 shutout.

The Seawolves finally took a lead in the third game of the series, the back half of Saturday’s doubleheader. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Nick DeGennaro threw 4.2 no-hit frames before fifth-inning RBI hits from graduate outfielder Cristian Montes and Paradine put Stony Brook on top, 2-0. The Bobcats would get one back in the bottom half of the inning.

In the top of the sixth, the Seawolves looked to add insurance runs with the bases loaded and one out, but Giordano grounded into a 5-3 double play. The missed opportunity came back to haunt Stony Brook when Texas State redshirt-senior outfielder Will Hollis launched a 2-out homer off DeGennaro in the bottom of the sixth.

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Timely hitting was an issue for the Seawolves in Game 3, who despite racking up 11 hits, stranded runners in scoring position in the first, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Youth came up big for Stony Brook in the top of the eighth as freshman outfielder Ellis Schwartz drove in freshman infielder Brett Paulsen with a double to right-center that gave the Seawolves a 3-2 lead.

DeGennaro’s night was done after seven innings, having hurled 97 pitches while striking out six and allowing only two hits. It was a breakthrough start for the sophomore, who put up an 8.36 ERA and lasted no longer than five innings as a freshman. Senior right-hander Brandon Bonanno entered to shut the door on the Bobcats, securing the 6-out save without giving up a hit or walk.

The Seawolves entered Sunday afternoon with the chance to tie the series. Freshman pitcher Josh O’Neill made his first career start and struggled with control by allowing five walks, yet left after five innings without conceding an earned run. Stony Brook got on the board in the top of the seventh when sophomore infielder Johnny Decker hit a leadoff single and was driven in by junior catcher John Tuccillo to tie the game at 1. 

Freshman infielder Stanton Leuthner abruptly followed with his first career homer, a 2-run shot to left field that put the Seawolves on top 3-1. However, freshman pitcher Brandon Lashley, who relieved O’Neill in the sixth, gave up three runs on four hits in the bottom of the frame in his first career appearance. Stony Brook went down in order in both the eighth and ninth, suffering a 4-3 loss to end the series.

The Seawolves take the field next on Friday, Feb. 21 for a 3-game series with the Clemson Tigers of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). 

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