In what has become a nightmarish start to the 2023 season, the Stony Brook baseball team now finds itself on its longest losing streak in nine years.
While trying to rinse the taste of an ugly sweep out of their mouths, the Seawolves (0-6) saw history repeat itself down in Alabama this past weekend against Troy University. In a three-game series from Friday through Sunday, Stony Brook’s pitching struggled immensely, leading it to be swept again. The team lost all three games in high-scoring fashion, losing 9-4, 15-11 and 9-7 in that order.
Stony Brook had leads in all three games during the series but could not hold on to any of them, no matter the size. The team grabbed an early 1-0 lead in game one on Friday when third baseman Evan Giordano lined a two-out RBI single into right-center field. Troy tied the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when left fielder Shane Lewis drew a bases-loaded walk off of starting pitcher Jared Bellissimo.
Stony Brook took the lead back in the next half-inning when shortstop Matt Miceli lined an opposite-field RBI double. Two batters later, Giordano struck again by singling home a pair to give his team a 4-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Bellissimo allowed a lead-off home run to Troy designated hitter Kyle Mock and then a single to right fielder Hudson Hartfield. Bellissimo was then pulled from the game in favor of relief pitcher Josh O’Neill, who started off his outing very effectively.
O’Neill pitched three hitless innings and induced two double-play ground balls to protect Stony Brook’s 4-2 lead. But in the bottom of the eighth inning, Troy first baseman William Sullivan tied the game with a two-run blast to center field. After that, O’Neill walked back-to-back hitters before departing the contest.
Relief pitcher Brandon Lashley replaced O’Neill but could not get the job done. He walked his first two hitters, the second of which came with the bases loaded to give Troy a 5-4 lead. After the walk, Hartfield singled home a pair to make it 7-4. Troy center fielder Kole Myers followed with another two-run single to finish a seven-run inning.
The bottom of Stony Brook’s order went down 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth inning, ending its hopes of a comeback.
The Seawolves lost a slugfest in game two on Saturday and blew an even bigger lead. After Troy scored three runs in the bottom of the first, Stony Brook scored 10 unanswered runs over the next three innings, culminating with a six-run top of the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, starting pitcher Nick DeGennaro struggled with his control, which opened the door for a rally by the Trojans. After walking the first two hitters, DeGennaro surrendered a three-run home run to Lewis, cutting Stony Brook’s lead in half. He then allowed a single and was promptly pulled in favor of reliever Eddie Smink.
Smink allowed an RBI double to the first batter he faced. After recording a strikeout, Smink then walked a batter and hit another to load the bases for Sullivan. He capitalized on his bases-loaded opportunity with a sacrifice fly to cut Stony Brook’s lead down to just two runs.
Troy continued its comeback in the next inning when shortstop Tremayne Cobb Jr. led off with a home run. In the bottom of the sixth, Troy took the lead for good when Sullivan launched a two-run homer. Mock went back-to-back with him, extending the Trojans’ lead to 12-10 with a solo shot of his own.
Stony Brook got within one run of Troy in the top of the eighth after first baseman Brett Paulsen hit a sacrifice fly, but the Trojans scored three more runs in the bottom of the inning to put the game away.
On Sunday, Stony Brook scored in the top of the first when left fielder Matt Brown-Eiring singled home Giordano. Starting pitcher Kyle Johnson held Troy’s offense at bay until the bottom of the fourth inning when Mock tied the game with an RBI double. After advancing to third base on a groundout, Mock gave his team the lead by scoring on a wild pitch from Johnson.
In the next inning, Troy extended its lead when second baseman Ethan Kavanagh slapped an RBI single through the left side of the infield. With only one out in the fifth, Johnson was pulled in favor of reliever J.T. Raab, who was welcomed rudely. Troy third baseman Caleb Bartolero socked a two-run home run to right field, giving his team a 5-1 lead.
The Trojans manufactured a sixth unanswered run in the bottom of the sixth inning, but second baseman Evan Fox responded with an RBI single in the top of the seventh. However, another two-run homer by Bartolero and an RBI single by Mock in the eighth inning put the game out of Stony Brook’s reach.
The Seawolves made things interesting in the top of the ninth inning, scoring five runs to cut their deficit down to just two runs. However, the fifth run scored when designated hitter Shane Paradine grounded into a double play, effectively killing their rally.
Head coach Matt Senk did not speak to the media after any of the three games.
Stony Brook’s bats were very good in this series after struggling at Cal State Northridge. Giordano led the way, going 7-for-13 with a double, six RBIs, three runs scored and a walk. He had multiple hits and an RBI in all three games.
Miceli went 4-for-12 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored. Paradine went 4-for-13 with two doubles, a hit-by-pitch and two runs scored. Freshman second baseman Johnny Pilla got his first career start in game two and went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. However, pitching to a 12.38 ERA as a team completely undid Stony Brook’s good work on offense.
The last time Stony Brook lost at least six games in a row was at the start of the 2014 season. But, that team then finished the year 35-18 overall and won the America East regular season championship.
The Seawolves will look to get right on Wednesday when the Saint Peter’s Peacocks come to Joe Nathan Field. The game will be Stony Brook’s home opener, and the first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saint Peter’s is also winless, currently sitting at 0-7 after being swept in three games by Morehead State.