#Seawolves earn share of regular season title; No. 1 seed on the line Saturday

Brandon McNitt

May 16, 2014


Game One Final Stats | Game Two Final Stats

Stony Brook, N.Y. - Senior Brandon McNitt (Chino Hills, Calif.) put together a masterful complete game performance to lead the No. 29 Stony Brook baseball team to a 5-1 win and a split of a doubleheader against Hartford, securing at least a share of the America East regular season championship Friday at Joe Nathan Field. Hartford had won game one, 6-1.

The doubleheader split sets up an important rubber game on Saturday. If Stony Brook (32-16, 17-5 America East) wins, it will claim the regular season title outright and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming America East Championship. If Hartford (30-20, 16-6 America East) wins, the Hawks will share the regular season title with the #Seawolves and earn the No. 1 seed by virtue of tiebreaker (winning the head-to-head series).

Head Coach Matt Senk's Reaction
"It was a solid performance by the team to comeback and win that second game to allow us to play for an outright regular season championship tomorrow. The guys did a great job, especially Brandon McNitt, who came out and set the tone on the mound with another terrific pitching performance."

Game One Turning Point
Stony Brook was stonewalled by Hartford's Sean Newcomb, who is projected to be a first-round pick in this year's MLB Draft. The Hawks left-hander allowed just two baserunners in the first five innings.

Meanwhile, the Hawks scored two runs in the first, two more in the fourth and two in the eighth inning. In the first, senior Frankie Vanderka (Levittown, N.Y.) recorded the first two outs quickly, but the Hawks rallied with three consecutive base hits to pick up their runs.

After Newcomb finished seven innings of work, Hartford's Sam McKay closed out the #Seawolves by retiring the side in the eighth and ninth.

Game Two Turning Point
In a scoreless game in the fourth inning, the #Seawolves put together a threat when singles by junior Kevin Krause (Staten Island, N.Y.) and freshman Casey Baker (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) sandwiched around a walk by junior Cole Peragine (Belle Ewart, Ontario) set up bases loaded. Senior Anthony Italiano stepped to the plate and hit a high fly ball down the right field line. The wind carried the ball away from right fielder Ryan Lukach, and the ball dropped in behind him. All three runners scored as Italiano raced to third for a triple to give Stony Brook a 3-0 lead.

The rest was all on McNitt, who delivered a masterful performance in a complete game effort. He struck out four of the first six batters he faced and finished with eight for the game against no walks. When faced with runners on first and second with no outs in the fifth, he struck out Trey Stover and then got Aaron Wilson to ground to first. Senior Kevin Courtney (Lindenhurst, N.Y.) tried starting a double play, got the out at second, but Wilson was safe at first. However, Brady Sheetz tried scoring all the way from second on the play, and McNitt, who was covering first base on the double play attempt, gunned the ball to Italiano, who easily slapped the tag on Sheetz for a double play.

With a five-run lead in the final inning, McNitt allowed one run to score, but he ended the game by inducing Billy Walker into the 6-4-3 double play to secure the victory.

Inside the Numbers

  • Stony Brook collected 13 hits and drew four walks on the day. The team left five men on base in game one and six in game two.
  • Hartford had 14 hits and drew one walk over the two games. The Hawks left seven men on base in game one and three in game two.
  • Italiano and Baker had the lone multi-hit games for the #Seawolves. Baker was 2-for-4 and scored the team's only run in game one. Italiano was 2-for-2 with a double, triple and three RBI.
  • Vanderka started on the mound in game one and allowed six runs on seven hits over 7-1/3 innings and pitched a lot better than the numbers would indicate. He walked one and struck out one. 
  • McNitt pitched game two and tossed his second complete game of the season. He allowed one run on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight, the fifth consecutive start and sixth time this season he's fanned at least seven batters. McNitt has now matched sophomore Tyler Honahan (Parker, Colo.) for the team lead in victories with seven.
  • McNitt is 4-0 with a 2.55 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 24-2/3 innings over his last four starts.



News & Notes

  • Stony Brook has won eight of its last 10 games and 26 of its last 32.
  • At 17-5, the #Seawolves have earned at least a share of the America East regular season championship, the program's third since joining the conference in 2002.
  • Stony Brook has been dominant in America East since the start of the 2010 season with an 87-34 record.
  • The #Seawolves are 18-3 at Joe Nathan Field this season.
  • The six runs allowed by Stony Brook in game one was just the second time in the last 35 games played that the #Seawolves have given up six or more runs.
  • Stony Brook is now 8-8 this season in games following a loss.

Up Next
The #Seawolves and Hawks will play the rubber game of their series on Saturday at Joe Nathan Field at noon. The winner of the game will claim the No. 1 seed in next week's America East Championship. It will be Senior Day, and the #Seawolves will honor their seven graduating student-athletes Josh Barry, Kevin Courtney, Anthony Italiano, Joshua Mason, Brandon McNitt, Bryan Tatelman and Frankie Vanderka prior to first pitch. Saturday's game will be carried on AmericaEast.TV and WUSB 90.1 FM.