A remarkable milestone was reached on Wednesday as Stony Brook Head Coach Matt Senk earned his 700th career win against a hungry LIU-Brooklyn team. This is Senk’s 25th season as head coach of the Stony Brook Seawolves. The 6-4 victory also extended the Seawolves winning streak to seven and improved their overall record (17-11). Their last loss took place in the second game of a doubleheader at home to UMass Lowell on March 30.
The LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds extended their losing streak to three. Within those three defeats, they have let up 20 runs and have only scored seven. On road games, they are 6-13. Their overall record now stands at 11-20 under new head coach Alex Trezza.
Freshman pitcher Nicolas DiEva got the start for the Seawolves. Prior to the game, he had a 2-1 record, possessed a 3.63 ERA, had 17.1 innings pitched and 20 strikeouts. For the LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds, sophomore Evan Flood was the first of five LIU-Brooklyn pitchers to step on the mound. He came into Stony Brook with a 3-2 record, 2.70 ERA, 25.2 innings pitched and 16 strikeouts. Neither starting pitcher received a win.
The Blackbirds got their bats going early in the top of the first with an RBI triple by sophomore center fielder Tommy Jakubowski to left-center. The first pitch of the game by DiEva was a fastball that nailed sophomore second baseman Charles Misiano who was credited with the run. After Jakubowski was senior catcher Melvin Rios, who started off with a ground out to second base. But it was good enough to drive in Jakubowski to give the Blackbirds an early 2-0 lead.
Stony Brook responded with three runs in the third off four consecutive hits. Junior outfielder and team leader in batting average (.368) Jack Parenty worked up the count on Flood and drove a pitch to center field to start the fire for the Seawolves. Next to bat was junior third baseman Johnny Caputo who went two-for-two with an RBI as he also cracked a single in the outfield on a full count. Parenty stole second during Caputo’s at-bat, and then got to third on a wild pitch from Flood on a 2-2 count. Parenty was credited with the run off Caputo’s single, which then tied up the game 2-2. But that didn’t last. Caputo did not complete the game, as he left with an injury in the fourth inning after sliding back to first in order to avoid a pickoff from Flood. To provide the Seawolves with their first lead, freshman first baseman Andruw Gazzola ripped a deep triple down the first-base line that brought in Caputo from first base. Trezza decided to pull Flood after giving up the lead. He pitched 2.1 innings, gave up six hits and three runs.
“Johnny actually came up to me prior going back into the field,” Senk said after the game about Caputo’s injury. “He was on deck and he felt his arm had gotten to a point where he couldn’t throw or swing the bat that well enough to go back in the game. So that’s why we took him out.”
Stony Brook’s DiEva was done after three innings pitched, allowing one hit, two runs and striking out five. Senk then turned to freshman Aaron Pinto to take the mound and possibly provide some defensive efficiency. He also did not receive the win.
The Blackbirds were immediately able to get the game even again in the fourth. Jakubowski led off the inning with a single to center field and would be credited with the tying run off a sacrifice fly to deep left field by sophomore first baseman Mark Hernandez. Pinto left in the fifth inning with one run given up on two hits.
The Blackbirds then regained the lead in the sixth with the same person that tied up the game. Hernandez crushed a solo home run to left-center field off of Stony Brook’s Tim Knesnik. Despite giving up the only home run of the game, he did receive his first win of the season. Hernandez now has three home runs on the year with 25 RBIs.
In the latter half of the sixth inning, Stony Brook was able to regain the lead with one colossal hit. Sophomore center fielder Toby Handley was patient on his pitches and drove a triple down the third-base line off of LIU-Brooklyn’s Vincent Tranchina who got the loss in the game. Handley’s triple brought home freshman right-fielder Cole Creighton and senior catcher Cole Peragine to give the Seawolves a 5-4 lead.
It was Stony Brook’s game from that point. The Blackbirds’ pitchers struggled getting the ball over the plate, limiting hits and controlling their location. Overall the five pitchers gave up 10 hits, walked eight batters and hit three Seawolf batters with pitches. The last run was an RBI walk by Gazzola, expanding the Seawolves lead to 6-4.
“Our guys have done a great job on that all year,” Senk said on behalf of his hitters. “If you look at our stats, our hits, walks, hit by pitches to strikeouts, it’s a pretty amazing number that we have been able to put up. Their patience and their strike zone discipline has been really, really good. It’s a big part of our offensive success.”
The Seawolves pitchers did a tremendous job against LIU-Brooklyn’s offense. They struck out nine batters and only gave up four hits through 37 batters faced.
“It was a mid-week where we are trying to figure things out,” Senk said on the utilization of the pitchers. “I know I’ve been saying that all season. We had some bad news. Kevin Kernan, who’s been pitching great for us all season, hurt his elbow in the UMBC game he pitched on Sunday. With him out, that kind of changes things. Pinto is a freshman that’s somebody that might help us out now that Kernan is down.”
With this victory, Stony Brook remains at the top of the America East Standings and goes on a seven game road trip. LIU-Brooklyn looks to retaliate against Sacred Heart University in a three-game home series starting Friday.