The Stony Brook Seawolves (4-7) got a reliable start from freshman right-hander Bret Clarke and played small ball to earn a victory against the Saint Peter’s Peacocks (1-7) on Friday afternoon.
Clarke pitched five innings and allowed two runs on six hits to help lead Stony Brook to the 7-3 win. He also struck out four batters and walked two, improving to 2-0 on the year.
“I want to take what I did wrong this start and perfect it in the next one,” Clarke said. “We got the win, which is all that really matters.”
Stony Brook took advantage of Saint Peter’s junior right-handed starting pitcher Jake Regina early in the game. Regina threw more than a few wild pitches, which allowed Stony Brook to take the extra base and set up runners to be batted in.
The Seawolves then jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI singles from first baseman Andruw Gazzola and third baseman Bobby Honeyman, both of whom are sophomores. SBU tacked on a run in second and third innings. Junior right fielder Casey Baker scored on a wild pitch by Regina to give Stony Brook a 4-2 lead in the third.
SBU scored two more runs in the fifth inning, which resulted in Regina being pulled after four innings. Baker hit an RBI single to right field to make it 5-2 Stony Brook. Junior catcher David Real scored on Saint Peter’s sophomore third baseman Tommy Toole’s throwing error, which gave the Seawolves a four run lead and officially ended Regina’s afternoon. He allowed five earned runs on seven hits, both walked and struck out five batters and fell to 1-2 on the season.
“It was a game we needed to win,” Baker said. “We’ve got two more tough games this weekend.”
Clarke’s only struggles came in the third inning when he allowed two runs. Sophomore first baseman Mike Ionta hit an RBI single and senior shortstop Jon Kristoffersen smacked an RBI triple to dead center.
“Bret has a terrific arm and breaking ball,” Head Coach Matt Senk said. “He just has to learn to channel his adrenaline. The arm strength is there.”
Stony Brook added an insurance run in the seventh inning. Casey hit a leadoff double to right-center field. Junior pitcher Michael Ammerman balked, which advanced Casey over to third base. He scored on the next play on Honeyman’s squeeze bunt, who was the only Seawolf to have multiple RBIs in the game.
Senior right-handed pitcher Tim Knesnik relieved Clarke to start the sixth and threw three solid innings. He allowed one run on two hits and struck out three. Sophomore Kevin Kernan pitched the ninth inning for Stony Brook and closed the game out.
Stony Brook remained perfect at home this season in its two games at Joe Nathan field. The Seawolves have struggled away from home so far this year, holding a 2-7 record in games not played at their home field.
“It was tough with the first three weekends being on the road,” Senk said. “To come home today and tomorrow, we hope to use it to gain momentum.”
Stony Brook will look to win consecutive games for the first time this season when they host Villanova on Saturday, March 12 at 2:30 p.m. at Joe Nathan Field.
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