Stony Brook’s baseball team is no longer undefeated against America East opponents. The Seawolves blew an early lead against the UMass Lowell River Hawks on Saturday, April 10, but still won three out of four games in the series.
The series was originally scheduled to take place on Saturday and Sunday, but inclement weather forecasts pushed the series up a day.
The Seawolves clawed back from an early deficit In game one of Friday’s doubleheader to earn a 6-2 win.
Similar to his last outing, graduate pitcher Sam Turcotte allowed two runs in the first inning before throwing six scoreless to finish the game. The River Hawks hit two doubles in the first with the runs scoring on a sacrifice fly and a single to center field.
“Sam seemed to be a little elevated with his pitches in the first inning,” head coach Matt Senk said in a press release. “When I walked out to him, I told him to get back to being your old self. He turned it around quick and did a great job from there.”
Down 2-0, the Seawolves got a run back in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by sophomore second baseman Brett Paulsen. Sophomore catcher Shane Paradine crushed a leadoff solo home run to left field in the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2.
The score remained tied entering the seventh inning, when the Seawolves came through with a few clutch hits to take the lead.
Graduate center fielder John LaRocca singled up the middle to start the inning and was followed by Paulsen, who was hit by a pitch. After both runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt, they scored when sophomore left fielder Derek Yalon lined a single into left center field.
“I was just looking for a pitch over the plate that I could get my barrel on,” Yalon said. “And I drove it back up the middle.”
Yalon scored when junior third baseman Evan Giordano launched a two-run home run to left field to give Stony Brook a 6-2 lead.
Turcotte returned for the bottom of the seventh and finished his second career complete game with his fifth strikeout of the game. With a 1.87 ERA, Turcotte has a chance to break Stony Brook’s record for the lowest single-season ERA of 1.84, which was set by Nick Tropeano in 2011.
The win brought Stony Brook to 9-0 in America East play, marking the best start to conference play in program history. The Seawolves brought their record to ten wins in their 5-4 extra-innings victory in game two of the doubleheader.
Stony Brook jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Paradine plated Giordano with a single to right field.
The River Hawks tied the game up in the second inning when junior outfielder Gerry Siracusa hit an RBI double down the left field line.
In the fifth inning, the Seawolves had runners on first and second with graduate first baseman Chris Hamilton at the plate. The Seawolves put on the double steal and the throw down to third base went into the outfield, allowing Yalon to score and giving Stony Brook a 2-1 lead.
After recording the first two outs of the bottom of the fifth, senior pitcher Jared Milch showed discomfort as he shook his throwing arm. He remained in the game after a mound visit from Sink but continued to grimace and was replaced by sophomore left-hander Devin Sharkey, who recorded the final out of the inning.
The Seawolves extended their lead later in the game when Giordano scored on a fielder’s choice in the seventh inning. In the eighth inning, Giordano plated another run on his fourth hit of the game to give Stony Brook a 4-1 lead.
Sharkey returned to the mound for the bottom of the eighth for his third inning of relief and found himself in trouble. With two outs and a runner on first, he allowed a two-run homerun to senior infielder Joey Castellanos to make it a 4-3 game. Sharkey was replaced by junior pitcher Kyle Johnson who struck out the final batter of the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Johnson allowed a towering one-out home run to sophomore infielder Cedric Rose to tie the game at 4-4. Johnson managed to record the next two outs to send the game into extra innings.
The Seawolves quickly found themselves with two outs and the bases empty in the top of the tenth, but Yalon and Giordano each walked to bring Hamilton to the plate. A passed ball and a wild pitch allowed each runner to advance two bases, bringing Yalon across the plate for the winning run.
Johnson struck out two in the bottom of the tenth to close the door on his second win of the season.
The Seawolves’ fortunes changed with a 4-3 loss in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader.
The River Hawks scored first when Rose doubled down the left field line to drive in a run in the second inning. It was the only run allowed by senior pitcher Brian Herrmann, but he was replaced at the start of the third inning by sophomore pitcher Josh O’Neill.
After a clean third inning, O’Neill allowed a run in the fourth on a double to right center by freshman designated hitter Jimmy Sullivan to give the River Hawks a 2-0 lead.
The Seawolves recorded one hit in each of the first three innings, but each runner got caught stealing by sophomore catcher Ryan Proto. The struggles on the basepaths contributed to the offense’s slow start, but they took what the River Hawks gave them in their three-run fifth inning.
Stony Brook had runners on first and second with one out after Paradine and LaRocca were each hit by a pitch. Paradine scored when Paulsen singled to right field. With two outs, the Seawolves scored another two runs on two throwing errors by the River Hawks’ infield.
The Seawolves entered the bottom of the fifth with a 3-2 lead, but O’Neill allowed two consecutive one-out singles before he exited the game. Senior pitcher Brian Morrisey entered the game and got an out on a fielder’s choice at second base. Senior River Hawk outfielder Vinnie Martin slid hard into Paulsen at second to break up the double play.
Senk came out onto the field to argue that the slide was illegal and that Stony Brook should’ve been awarded a double play. After a few minutes of deliberation, the umpires stuck with the original call and signaled that Senk was playing the game under protest — a largely symbolic gesture that is unlikely to affect the game’s outcome.
When the players returned to action, the River Hawks took a 4-3 lead on a two-RBI double to left field by Siracusa.
Those runs were the deciding factor, as the Seawolves failed to put any runs on the board in the final two innings.
Led by an offensive explosion, the Seawolves got back on track in the final game of the weekend with a dominant 9-2 win.
Junior pitcher Nick DeGennaro allowed an earned run in the first inning and an unearned run in the second before shutting the River Hawks down for five innings. In seven innings of work, DeGennaro recorded a career-high ten strikeouts and earned his third win of the season. In three starts against America East opponents, DeGennaro has a 1.33 ERA, the lowest among Stony Brook’s starting rotation.
“Nick DeGennaro led the way with seven stellar innings on the mound,” Senk said in a press release. “Also, the defense was there throughout to back Nick up, along with a strong performance offensively up and down the lineup.”
The offense started its barrage in the second inning when senior catcher John Tuccillo singled with the bases loaded to score two runs.
In the third inning, freshman shortstop Evan Fox reached on an error and later scored on a wild pitch. With two outs and the bases loaded, Giordano scorched a line drive right back at sophomore pitcher Miles Cota, knocking his glove off his hand and scoring another run for the Seawolves.
Junior left fielder Johnny Decker reached on a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning that brought Paulsen across the plate. Decker later scored on a sacrifice fly by Giordano to extend Stony Brook’s lead to 6-2.
In 15 at-bats over the four-game series, Giordano drove in five runs and batted .600, bringing his batting average up to .368 on the season.
LaRocca blasted his third home run of the season to lead off the top of the seventh. Stony Brook’s final two runs came on a two-out double by Paulsen in the eighth.
Graduate pitcher Adam Erickson preserved the 9-2 lead with two scoreless innings in relief of DeGennaro.
“It’s an outstanding job to bounce back in Game 2 from today’s tough first game loss,” Senk said. “It’s never an easy task to go on the road, so to win today’s second game and win the series is a great accomplishment.”
The Seawolves will take their 15-8 (11-1 AE) record into a four-game series against the UMBC Retrievers on Saturday, April 17 and Sunday, April 18 at Joe Nathan Field.