The Stony Brook baseball team swept a four-game series against the Hartford Hawks at Joe Nathan Field on Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3 to move to 8-0 against America East opponents and extend their win streak to eight games.
Despite a slow start, the Seawolves opened their frigid Friday doubleheader with a 5-2 win powered by great pitching and a late offensive rally.
The Hawks came out firing in the top of the first inning with a double and a single in their first two at-bats of the game. The Hawks took a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly by senior second baseman Drew DeMartino and scored an unearned run after an error by freshman shortstop Evan Fox.
After the rocky first inning, graduate pitcher Sam Turcotte found a groove and allowed two hits and no runs in the final six innings. Arguably his best outing since he took a perfect game into the eighth inning on opening day, Turcotte finished his first career complete game with six strikeouts and lowered his season ERA to 1.73.
“That first inning could have gone a lot worse than it did and [Turcotte] hung in there,” head coach Matt Senk said in an interview with The Statesman. “So, credit to Sam for not only doing a great job with his pitches, but also for keeping his composure.”
Stony Brook’s offense got one run back in the third when junior third baseman Evan Giordano scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore catcher Shane Paradine. The Seawolves threatened again in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and one out. One run scored when Giordano walked after fouling off four pitches in a ten-pitch at-bat. Although they tied the game, the Seawolves couldn’t take the lead as graduate first baseman Chris Hamilton hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Seawolves entered the bottom of the sixth with the score still tied at 2-2, but exited the inning with a lead. With two outs and runners on first and second, Giordano launched a clutch two-RBI double to left center field to give Stony Brook a 4-2 lead. Hamilton followed with his own double to left center to score Giordano and enter the final inning with a 5-2 lead.
Turcotte pitched a clean top of the seventh to secure his third win of the year.
The Seawolves controlled game two from the start en route to a dominant 7-1 win over the Hawks.
Stony Brook got on the board in the first inning when Fox scored on a wild pitch. Despite having the bases loaded, the Seawolves only managed the one run before their bats went quiet for a few innings.
Still leading 1-0 entering the fifth, the Seawolves broke the game open with a six-run inning. With two runners on and in a two-strike count, Giordano hit his second home run of the season on a laser down the left field line to extend Stony Brook’s lead to 4-0.
“I was just trying to go up there and get a pitch I can drive and do some damage with,” Giordano said in a press release. “He gave me one inside. I just turned on it and got a lot of it.”
The scoring continued when Fox plated Hamilton on a single to right center. To cap off a nine-pitch at-bat, graduate center fielder John LaRocca doubled in Fox and senior catcher John Tuccillo to make it a 7-0 game.
The large lead gave senior pitcher Jared Milch a nice cushion after preserving a one-run lead for five innings. Milch took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but his bid came to an end on a two-out double by senior outfielder John Thrasher.
Milch exited the game after allowing no runs and only one hit while striking out seven in seven innings.
“It’s always better pitching with a lead,” Milch said in a postgame interview. “You can attack more and there’s less pressure on you. So, kudos to the offense, they did a great job today.”
Sophomore pitcher Josh O’Neill entered the game in the eighth inning and allowed one run on a fielder’s choice, but struck out three in the last two innings to close out the second win of the day.
Entering Friday’s doubleheader, the Seawolves had a 2-5 home record with both wins coming in their opening day doubleheader against the Sacred Heart Pioneers on February 26.
“We fully expect when we’re at home to, as they say, protect our house and we usually do at a high level,” Senk said. “To be 2-5 up until now was disappointing and so, hopefully we’re turning that around with today’s doubleheader sweep.”
Stony Brook returned to Joe Nathan Field on Saturday and continued to ride dominant pitching to two more wins.
Senior pitcher Brian Herrmann allowed a two-run home run to sophomore third baseman Tremayne Cobb Jr. in the second inning of the first game, but those were the only runs the Hawks managed. Herrmann pitched all seven innings and allowed two runs on three hits while striking out eight, lowering his ERA to 2.87 in the 6-2 win.
Down 2-0, the Seawolves tied the game in the third inning when Hamilton launched a two-run home run over the right field wall. They took a 3-2 lead in the fourth when Paradine scored on a two-out single to center by sophomore second baseman Brett Paulsen.
After Herrmann maintained the one-run lead for two innings, the offense gave him some more breathing room in the bottom of the sixth. With the bases loaded, junior right fielder Cole Durkan hit a two-RBI double with a sharp ground ball just inside first base. Paulsen later scored on a sacrifice fly by junior left fielder Johnny Decker to extend Stony Brook’s lead to 6-2.
Herrmann struck out the last two batters of a 1-2-3 seventh inning to earn his first win of the season and his first complete game since coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Both teams saved the best game of the weekend for last, as the Seawolves won the back-and-forth affair 6-5 in extra innings.
Junior pitcher Nick DeGennaro took the mound for the Seawolves and built off his six-inning shutout last week against Albany. DeGennaro allowed at least one hit in each of the first four innings but kept the Hawks off the scoreboard until senior outfielder John Thrasher mashed the first pitch of the fifth inning over the left field fence.
The Seawolves answered in the bottom of the fifth as Fox hit a leadoff single to left field and scored when LaRocca hit his second home run of the season over the right field scoreboard to take a 2-1 lead.
Stony Brook took advantage of an error in the seventh to add a run as Paulsen singled in Paradine to make the score 3-1.
After he allowed the home run, DeGennaro retired Hartford’s next ten batters. He exited the game with one out in the eighth inning after allowing a walk on his 108th pitch of the game.
Senior pitcher Brian Morrisey entered the game and immediately found himself in trouble. The runner on first scored on a triple to center field by DeMartino, who scored on a sacrifice fly in the next at-bat to tie the game at 3-3. Morrisey then walked Cobb, who scored on a double by sophomore catcher Tyler Holmes to give the Hawks a 4-3 lead.
Junior pitcher Kyle Johnson replaced Morrisey and allowed an RBI double to make it a two-run deficit for the Seawolves.
Stony Brook got a run back in the bottom of the eighth when Giordano scored on a single to left field by Tuccillo. The Seawolves entered the bottom of the ninth down one run, but quickly tied the game up.
On the first pitch he saw, LaRocca hit a triple into the right field corner. Paulsen then came up with another clutch hit as he singled to center to tie the game at 5-5. The Seawolves later had the bases loaded with two outs, but Tuccillo popped out to the catcher to send the game into extra innings.
Still tied in the bottom of the tenth, Fox hit a soft line drive into shallow right that fell in front of a diving Tim Dickson. As the ball continued to roll, Fox made his way to third with a one-out triple. The Hawks opted to intentionally walk LaRocca, bringing Paulsen to the plate in another big spot.
Already with two hits and two RBIs in the game, Paulsen laid down a perfect bunt to the right of the pitcher’s mound, allowing the speedy Fox to score the game-winning run. The dugout and bullpen emptied as the entire team chased Paulsen into center field before they finally dogpiled on top of him.
“I knew Coach was going to put the squeeze on, and at that point it’s just down to me to get it down, and I did,” Paulsen said in a postgame interview. “There is no quit in this team. We could be down five runs, one run or nothing, we’re going to come back.”
The Seawolves were carried by upperclassmen Giordano, Hamilton and LaRocca on Friday, but Fox and Paulsen came up big multiple times on Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a senior,” Senk said. “It’s a meritocracy and so, if you go out there and perform, you’ll be given the opportunity to be put in those situations.”
The Seawolves will take their 12-7 (8-0 AE) record on the road in a four-game series against the UMass Lowell River Hawks on Saturday, April 10 and Sunday, April 11.