Having locked up the regular season title last weekend at UMBC, the Stony Brook baseball team continued its momentum and took three of four games against the Binghamton Bearcats in its final series on Friday, May 21 and Saturday, May 22 at Binghamton University.
The Seawolves ended their regular season 29-17 overall and 25-10 in conference play, marking the most America East wins by a program in a single season. After losing or tying three straight series in late April and early May, the Seawolves finish their regular season on two straight series wins as they prepare to host the America East playoffs from Thursday, May 27 to Saturday, May 29.
The Seawolves swept the Friday doubleheader, opening their final series with a 7-1 win fueled by a four-run second inning.
Graduate center fielder John LaRocca walked to lead off the top of the second and scored on a double down the left field line by freshman left fielder Evan Fox, who was driven in on a double to right by sophomore second baseman Brett Paulsen. Junior right fielder Cole Durkan contributed an RBI groundout before graduate first baseman Chris Hamilton gave the Seawolves a 4-0 lead on a single to right field.
Stony Brook made it 5-0 in the third when Fox hit a sac fly to center to score LaRocca, who tripled off the right field wall.
The Bearcats managed an unearned run in the fourth inning after a throwing error by junior third baseman Evan Giordano allowed Binghamton freshman outfielder Tommy Reifler to reach base and later score on an RBI single by senior second baseman Alex Baratta. That was the only run senior pitcher Jared Milch allowed in six innings of work, who earned his sixth quality start and fifth win of the season.
In the top of the seventh, Fox drove in another run on a single to center for his third RBI of the game. Paulsen reached on an error that scored LaRocca for the final run of the game. Junior pitcher Kyle Johnson took the mound in the seventh and struck out the last two batters he faced to end the 7-1 win.
The loss eliminated Binghamton from playoff contention, but the Bearcats showed some fight early in game two before Stony Brook broke the game open late for a 15-3 win.
Stony Brook kept the offense rolling with three runs on four hits in the top of the first. LaRocca drove in two runs and Fox plated another on singles to right for a 3-0 lead. However, the Bearcats answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.
After allowing those two runs, junior pitcher Nick DeGennaro settled in nicely, as he struck out a career high eleven batters in five innings for his eighth win of the year. Stony Brook’s offense gave DeGennaro some breathing room in the third, as junior second baseman Brad Hipsley hit an RBI single while Paulsen laid down an RBI sacrifice squeeze to restore the Seawolves’ three-run lead. In the top of the sixth, Durkan plated Paulsen on a single up the middle, stealing second and third before Giordano’s sac fly drove him in to extend the advantage to 7-2.
Stony Brook blew the game open in the top of the seventh, pouring on eight runs highlighted by a bases-clearing double from sophomore shortstop Stanton Leuthner as well as the first career hit by freshman outfielder Idris Carter, who entered the game as a pinch hitter and knocked an RBI triple to the left field wall to make it 15-2.
Sophomore pitcher Devin Sharkey and freshmen pitchers Shane Helmstadt and Quinlan Montgomery relieved DeGennaro. Sharkey allowed a run in the seventh but the freshman each threw scoreless innings to cap off the dominant win.
Despite resting some of their typical starters on Sunday, the Seawolves remained competitive but lost game one by a score of 5-4 on a walk-off double.
Binghamton scored a run in each of the first two innings, but Stony Brook got one back in the third from a Leuthner RBI groundout. The Seawolves tied the game in the fourth when sophomore left fielder Derek Yalon hit a two-out double that plated Durkan. The Bearcats quickly broke the tie in the bottom of the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. In the top of the sixth, Paulsen hit a leadoff double and scored on a single by Durkan to tie the game at 3-3.
Redshirt senior pitcher Brian Herrmann pitched five innings, allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out just one. Freshman pitcher Andrew Ledbetter, in relief, kept the game tied entering the seventh. LaRocca was hit by a pitch and the next two batters walked to load the bases for Yalon, who drew a four-pitch walk himself to drive in the go-ahead run.
Three outs away from a win, Ledbetter allowed a leadoff walk. The runner advanced to second on a groundout and Binghamton senior right fielder Daniel Franchi laced a double to tie the game. Ledbetter got Baratta to fly out to center but was beat by Bearcats senior third baseman Justin Drpich, who hit a two-out ground-rule double for the walk-off, Stony Brook’s only loss of the weekend.
In the final game of the regular season, Binghamton held an early lead but Stony Brook took control for a 6-3 win.
Drpich’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the third put the Bearcats up 1-0. The Seawolves answered in the top of the fourth as freshman right fielder Matt Brown-Eiring hit his first collegiate home run – a three-run bomb to right field. In the fifth, Hamilton added another run on a sac fly to center, extending Stony Brook’s lead to 4-1. Carter drove in two more runs for the Seawolves on a triple off the center field wall to give Stony Brook a 6-1 lead in the sixth.
Graduate pitcher Sam Turcotte allowed one run and struck out five in five innings. Freshman pitcher Brendan Pattermann relieved him and gave up two runs in his fourth collegiate appearance, but a string of upperclassmen relievers were able to preserve the 6-3 lead. Graduate pitcher Adam Erickson recorded his first save of the season after entering in the ninth.
Stony Brook will open the America East tournament against the Maine Black Bears on Thursday at 11 a.m. The Black Bears sport a 17-17 conference record, but they are the only America East team the Seawolves haven’t played this season because a COVID-19 issue forced their scheduled four-game series in late March to be canceled.
As the reigning America East champions of 2019, the Seawolves look to go back-to-back as tournament champs for the first time in program history.