Easter Sunday was not as cheerful for the Stony Brook baseball team on the field, as it brought them their first conference series loss of the year.
The Seawolves (15-18, 10-5 AE) came into their three-game series atop the conference standings but were knocked off at home by the rival Binghamton Bearcats. Stony Brook’s offense only mustered up 22 hits in 26 innings against Binghamton’s pitchers while winning one game, and it squandered several opportunities to win the two games they lost.
Stony Brook won game one 5-3 behind a strong outing from starter Ben Fero. Fero allowed only two earned runs on two hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out four and walked two. Fero did not surrender a run until designated hitter Evin Sullivan lined a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning.
“Our defense was absolutely impeccable. They put the ball in play, but I had no doubts,” Fero said.
However, Fero was matched almost perfectly by Binghamton’s left-handed starter Thomas Babalis. Babalis tossed seven innings, allowing only three earned runs on four hits. However, the third run was met with controversy.
After plunking designated hitter Ryan Micheli, Babalis tossed two wild pitches that allowed Micheli to move up two bases. With Micheli on third, right fielder Derek Yalon bounced a ground ball to third base. Stony Brook sent Micheli home, and the throw beat him by several feet. However, the catcher was ruled to have missed the tag, and Micheli was called safe. Micheli also made a second attempt to touch home plate after he had been ruled safe, implying that Stony Brook may have gotten away with one there.
Reliever Brendan Pattermann could not hold on to Stony Brook’s 3-2 lead. Left fielder Cavan Tully pulled an RBI single into right field to tie the game at three apiece.
In a back-and-forth game, Stony Brook made the final move when shortstop Stanton Leuthner cranked a two-run homer to left-center field. That broke the tie for good, and lefty reliever Devin Sharkey came out for the save opportunity. Sharkey promptly struck out three batters and worked around a walk to earn the save.
“It feels great. That was a battle, and they played a really good game. But we were able to handle it, and it feels great to help our guys out,” Leuthner said.
Game two was a wash, as Binghamton pulled off a wire-to-wire win with an 8-4 domination of Stony Brook. A five-run second inning put the game out of reach early.
Starting pitcher Brandon Lashley caught the brunt of the beating, as he was tagged for five earned runs on five hits in just 2.2 innings. He was pulled in favor of freshman left-hander Colton Book, who put up a solid effort out of the bullpen for Stony Brook. Book gave them 6.1 innings of relief, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits. His defense was no help, committing throwing errors on two separate double play opportunities.
Stony Brook made a ballgame out of it, halving its deficit in the bottom of the fourth to get back into it. After catcher Shane Paradine hit an RBI single, left fielder Matt Brown-Eiring launched a two-run bomb that landed on nearby Circle Road to make it 6-3 Binghamton. However, it wasn’t enough.
Binghamton put the game away with insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings, and held off Stony Brook to deliver an 8-4 loss. Stony Brook was held to just six hits, as starter Gabe Driscoll tossed a quality start.
Game three followed a similar tune. On Easter Sunday, Stony Brook came out hot against starter Ryan Bryggman to plate a pair in the first. On the other side of the ball, Quinlan Montgomery was going to work, as he had four strikeouts through three scoreless innings.
However, Montgomery exited the game early with what head coach Matt Senk would explain was an injury, and was replaced by Josh O’Neill to start the top of the fourth.
“He came off the mound and went to [pitching coach Alex] Brosnan to say that he was feeling tightness in his forearm and he couldn’t get it to loosen up, so we felt it was best to take him out of the game,” Senk said.
Unfortunately, O’Neill — who had pitched to a 1.62 ERA over his previous four outings — got peppered by the Binghamton lineup. O’Neill allowed six earned runs on nine hits in five innings pitched, striking out five and walking one. He was taken deep twice, and the second homer put the game on ice. Tully roped a two-run homer just over the right field fence to make it 6-3 Binghamton in the eighth.
A late rally from the Seawolves was thwarted when a Brown-Eiring sacrifice fly cut the deficit, but they could not scratch across any more runs off of reliever Jack Collins. Binghamton held on to win 6-4, as Stony Brook’s offense left 11 runners on base.
“They really pitched the way you should with a lead … Overall, they pitched well,” Senk said. “Things didn’t go our way this weekend. Hopefully, they’ll go our way next weekend when it comes to getting some timely hits.”
Freshman second baseman Nick Roselli was a catalyst in the middle of that Binghamton lineup, as he took control of games two and three against Stony Brook. He had three hits and three RBIs in game two, including a home run over the batter’s eye in center field. In game three, he lined a go-ahead, two-run double in the seventh. Overall he was 4-for-8 with five RBIs, a homer and two doubles in the two Binghamton wins.
It was definitely a tough weekend for Stony Brook, as Maine took sole possession of first place by sweeping Albany in three games. NJIT took two out of three against UMBC to improve to 10-5 in-conference, effectively leapfrogging Stony Brook. However, they will get a chance to bounce back next weekend in their series against UMBC, who they went 6-1 against last year.
The Seawolves’ next contest will be a non-conference game on Wednesday, April 20 at 3 p.m. against the Manhattan Jaspers. It will be their last home game for the next two weeks.