After Saturday’s doubleheader was canceled, the Stony Brook baseball team lost both games of an abridged doubleheader to the UMass Minutemen on Sunday, March 7.
The Seawolves were supposed to play four games against the Minutemen this weekend, but the team’s Twitter account announced on Friday that Saturday’s doubleheader would be canceled due to the cold weather policy.
Sunday’s doubleheader was pushed back an hour to 1 p.m. Both games were scheduled to go seven innings, but game two was called after five innings due to darkness.
“I wish it could’ve been just a normal weekend with normal start times and nine-inning games, but that unfortunately didn’t happen,” head coach Matt Senk said in a post-game interview with The Statesman. “It’s disappointing on that level and obviously a disappointing result.”
The Minutemen started game one with a bang. Senior pitcher Jared Milch looked like he was about to get off to a hot start, getting two quick ground outs to start the game. Milch had catcher Dylan Judd in an 0-2 count, but Judd laced a single to right field. After another single, UMass right fielder Michael Rounds worked a seven-pitch walk.
With the bases loaded, Milch hit the next batter on the first pitch to give up the first run of the game. Then, shortstop Chris Pearsons hit a line drive into the corner in left field for a bases-clearing double. Milch bounced back to strike the next batter out, but the Minutemen had an early 4-0 lead.
Stony Brook fought back in the second inning and took advantage of an error on a flyball to right field. With two outs and two men on base, junior left fielder Johnny Decker worked a seven-pitch walk to load the bases. Sophomore shortstop Stanton Leuthner perfectly placed a soft line drive over the first baseman’s head, scoring two.
With the deficit cut to two, Milch went back to work and pitched two scoreless innings before handing the ball to graduate pitcher Sam Turcotte to start the fourth inning. After a leadoff walk and an error on a fly ball to Decker in left field, Judd advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt.
One run scored on a passed ball and another scored on a single up the middle from designated hitter Mike Gervasi. The two unearned runs extended UMass’ lead to 6-2.
The Seawolves went down in order in the bottom of the fourth before allowing another unearned run in the fifth on a throwing error by Leuthner.
Leuthner walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth and stole second on a pitch in the dirt. He advanced to third on a ground out from graduate center fielder John LaRocca. Graduate first baseman Chris Hamilton hustled out a two-out infield single to score Leuthner and make it a 7-3 game.
The Seawolves gave themselves a chance to come back in the sixth, but ultimately came up short. Sophomore catcher Shane Paradine and freshman infielder Evan Fox each singled to start the inning. With one out, Leuthner reached on an error to load the bases. LaRocca drove a run in on a two-out, two-strike single to left field.
Down three and with the bases loaded, the Seawolves could’ve changed the game with one swing of the bat, but Hamilton popped out to second base for the third out of the inning.
The Minutemen added two insurance runs in the seventh when Judd launched a double to left center field. The Seawolves failed to score in their last licks and UMass took game one by a score of 9-4.
Stony Brook’s offense produced eight hits and four walks in game one, but UMass cashed in on runners in scoring position more frequently.
“This game, offensively, is always about timely hitting,” Senk said. “It’s not necessarily how many [hits] you get, it’s when you get them. We left a lot of people on base and we’re really struggling in RBI situations.”
Senior pitcher Brian Herrmann took the mound for game two and got off to a shaky start. After allowing a leadoff single and walking the next batter, the Minutemen again used a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. A one-out sac fly gave UMass an early 1-0 lead, but Herrmann ended the inning with a four-pitch strikeout.
Stony Brook capitalized on a pair of errors to answer back in the bottom of the first. Sophomore second baseman Brett Paulsen walked to start the inning and advanced to second when pitcher Jack Steele made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt. Hamilton followed with a walk and junior third baseman Evan Giordano reached on a fielder’s choice to shortstop, giving the Seawolves runners on the corners with two outs.
Paradine walked on seven pitches to load the bases before Steele made another error on a pickoff attempt, allowing Paulsen to score from third. Steele stranded the remaining two runners by forcing Fox to pop out to first base.
The game remained tied at 1-1 until the fourth inning. Rounds singled to start the inning for UMass and advanced to second on yet another sac bunt. With two outs, first baseman Steve Luttazi singled to right field, where junior right fielder Cole Durkan fired a strike to home plate. Paradine seemed to get the tag down in time, but Rounds was called safe and the Minutemen took a 2-1 lead.
In the fifth and final inning, third baseman Aidan Wilde tripled to deep right center to score another run for UMass. Jack Pawloski pitched a shutout bottom of the fifth and earned the save in UMass’ 3-1 victory.
“You’ve got to give credit to UMass for making pitches when they needed to,” Senk said. “And when they needed to get a timely hit, they certainly made the most of it.”
As cold as this weekend was, the forecast for Stony Brook’s Tuesday game calls for sunny, 50-degree weather.
“Hopefully, as the weather warms up, the bats will warm up,” Senk said. “We’ll be ready to get back at it against a very good Fordham team.”
Now at 2-3, Stony Brook will return to Joe Nathan Field to face the Fordham Rams at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 9.