Saturday, May 18, 2013

Baseball beats Hartford to clinch playoff berth

West Hartford, Conn. - Faced with a winner-take-all game on the road for the right to move on to the America East Championship, the Stony Brook baseball team, behind a fantastic effort from starting pitcher Brandon McNitt(Chino Hills, Calif.), rose to the occasion, taking advantage of seven Hartford errors and bashing 11 hits in a 10-3 victory over the Hawks Saturday at Fiondella Field.

The win secures Stony Brook's spot in the upcoming America East Championship, which takes place May 22-24 (May 25 if necessary) at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. The No. 4 seed Seawolves (24-32, 15-15 America East) will open the tournament Wednesday against No. 1 seed Maine (34-20, 20-9 America East) at 4 p.m. Hartford concludes its season 17-36 overall and 13-17 in America East.

Head Coach Matt Senk's Reaction
"I'm extremely proud of my players and coaching staff for working hard to get to the tournament and getting another chance to play for a championship. We're looking forward to a successful postseason."

Turning Point
Already leading 2-0, Stony Brook wrangled control of the game with a three-run fourth inning without the benefit of a base hit. Hartford starting pitcher Brian Hunter walked freshman Johhny Caputo (Toronto, Ontario), hit junior Josh Mason (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and walked freshman Brett Tenuto(Audubon, N.J.) to loaded the bases with no outs. Hunter was relieved by Kyle Gauthier, who promptly walked freshman Austin Shives (San Diego, Calif.) to force home a run. Freshman Jack Parenty (Wantagh, N.Y.) then hit a ground ball to second. Hawks second baseman Brian Estevez elected to go home, but threw wildly, allowing Mason to score. Gauthier then threw a wild pitch to allow Tenuto to score. He got the final two outs, but the damage had been done.

Stony Brook tacked on two runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth. Meanwhile McNitt cruised through the Hawks lineup, needing just 10 pitches to complete the fifth inning and six to get through the sixth inning. He held Hartford without a run through the first six innings before allowing one in the seventh. But by then, Stony Brook had a commanding 8-0 lead.

Inside the Numbers
  • Stony Brook had 11 hits and five walks while scoring 10 runs, five of them earns, as the Seawolves took advantage of seven Hartford errors.
  • Mason led the Seawolves with two hits and three runs scored. He was 6-for-14 with three RBI and five runs scored in four games this week.
  • Parenty went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games, the second time this season he's had a hitting streak in double figures. He is nine for his last 18 at the plate and is fourth in America East with a .348 batting average.
  • Parenty, Mason and sophomore Kevin Krause (Staten Island, N.Y.) all turned in multi-hit games.
  • Krause finished the series 5-for-11 with two walks.
  • Sophomore Cole Peragine (Belle Ewart, Ontario) connected on his second triple of the season that brought home two runs in the ninth inning.
  • McNitt started and scattered five hits over seven innings. He allowed one run, walked one and struck out six batters. He improved his record to 3-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.61. He now has 18 career wins.


News & Notes
  • This was the only game Stony Brook and Hartford played this season that was not decided by one run.
  • Stony Brook has now appeared in the America East Championship in eight consecutive seasons, the longest active streak of any league member.
  • The Seawolves are the defending America East champions, having won the tournament last season at home.
  • This will be the third time Stony Brook has entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed (2002, 2004). Both times, the Seawolves upset the No. 1 seed in the first round, and in 2004, the Seawolves won the whole tournament.
  • Hartford has not qualified for the conference tournament since 1996.

Up Next
The Seawolves begin defense of their America East Championship title Wednesday against top seed Maine at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., at 4 p.m. The game can be seen live on for free.