Another huge weekend from third baseman Evan Giordano helped Stony Brook baseball get some revenge on the NJIT Highlanders.
The Seawolves traveled down to Newark, New Jersey and took two out of three games from NJIT. A couple of good pitching performances along with some hot hitting helped Stony Brook (19-22, 14-7 AE) win its sixth conference series of the year. The Seawolves now remain in second place behind the red-hot Maine Black Bears, while NJIT fell to fourth place in the standings behind a surging Binghamton.
However, it wasn’t all peachy for Stony Brook, as it was blown out 10-2 in the opening game. Starting pitcher Ben Fero was roughed up for seven earned runs in just 3.2 innings by the Highlanders lineup. NJIT scored early and often, plating four runs in the opening frame and tagging Fero again for two more in the third. An RBI single by center fielder Albert Choi knocked Fero out in the fourth inning and put NJIT up 7-0.
While the NJIT bats were dominating Stony Brook, so was pitcher Ryan Fischer. Fischer had the best outing of his career, pitching a complete game against Stony Brook while striking out 14. He only allowed two earned runs on six hits and did not walk a batter. He earned the win, improving to 7-2 with a 3.76 ERA.
The offense did not get anything going against Fischer. Aside from an RBI double from right fielder Matt Brown-Eiring and a pinch-hit RBI triple from outfielder Adam Kuzmicki, Stony Brook’s bats made no waves.
That was not the case in game two. Stony Brook returned the favor with a 13-7 blowout win. Starter Brandon Lashley was up-and-down for the Seawolves, walking six, but he did not allow a run through five innings. He worked hard to strand runners, leaving eight on base to preserve Stony Brook’s lead.
Lashley got a lot of run support to work with as Stony Brook scored eight runs through the first three innings. They were headlined by Giordano, who had four extra-base hits and five RBIs. Giordano had a career-high three doubles, and also launched his seventh home run of the year. Eight of the nine Seawolves hitters hit safely, racking up 16 hits in total.
One highlight moment for the Seawolves’ offense was when Giordano and left fielder Evan Fox hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth. It was the third time this year that Stony Brook hit back-to-back home runs, and Giordano has been a part of it all three times.
NJIT didn’t score until Lashley departed. Reliever Brendan Pattermann had his worst outing of the season, then Kyle Johnson followed him and also struggled. The Seawolves bullpen allowed seven earned runs over the final four innings, but the lead was insurmountable. They eventually slammed the door on game two to force a rubber game on Sunday.
The decisive game three was much more well-rounded for Stony Brook, who won 6-3 to take the series. The offense only gathered eight hits, but they also drew eight walks to help give themselves extra opportunities. They took full advantage of those opportunities when it mattered most.
NJIT drew first blood with an RBI single from catcher Luke Longo in the first inning, but shortstop Stanton Leuthner put Stony Brook on top with a two-run homer in the top of the fourth. Designated hitter Isiah Daubon tied the game in the sixth with an RBI double, but that is the closest NJIT got.
A four-spot in the top of the seventh from Stony Brook gave them a 6-2 lead. NJIT cut the deficit with a run of their own in the bottom of the seventh, but it didn’t matter in the end.
Lefty Colton Book started the game for Stony Brook and was resilient, allowing two runs in six innings despite giving up seven hits and two walks. He earned the win and lowered his ERA to 3.86 on the year. Reliever Josh O’Neill cleaned up for him, pitching the final three innings while only allowing one run en route to a save.
Next up, Stony Brook will face Hofstra in the Battle of Long Island for the first time since 2010, when the Seawolves lost 12-10. This game will be a preview of next year, as the two will become CAA rivals once Stony Brook’s conference transfer is complete.