#Seawolves await NYIT in final non-conference game

Anthony Italiano

May 6, 2014

2014 Stony Brook Baseball

Old Westbury, N.Y. - 

Midweek Action - Wednesday, May 7
Stony Brook (27-15) vs. NYIT (4-41)
Angelo Lorenzo Memorial Field  •  Old Westbury, N.Y.

Stony Brook #Seawolves (27-15, 13-4 America East)
Head Coach:
Matt Senk, 24th season
Overall Record: 675-440-3
Record at SB:

The Matchup: Stony Brook concludes the non-conference portion of its regular season schedule with a road contest at local rival NYIT. The #Seawolves are 14-11 against non-conference foes this season, including 7-0 against non-conference teams from the state of New York. This is the second time the two teams are playing this season; Stony Brook topped the Bears, 3-2, on March 25. NYIT has lost 41 out of 45 games this season.

Last Weekend: The #Seawolves took two out of three games at home against a tough Maine squad that has strong pitching. After being baffled by Maine's Tommy Lawrence in a 2-1, game one loss, Stony Brook recovered to bash the Black Bears in game two, 11-3, and then take a 4-1 win in the rubber game. Stony Brook continued its strong pitching, allowing only five earned runs in 25 innings pitched. The bats were led by Casey Baker (.600), Kevin Courtney (.455), Cole Peragine (.444) and Jack Parenty (.400), who all hit .400 or higher in the three games.

Playoff Scenario: At 13-4 in America East, Stony Brook has clinched a spot in the 2014 America East Championship, making it nine straight years that the program has qualified for the tournament, which is the longest active streak among the conference's current members. The team is tied with Hartford for first place in the league and is only one win away from securing no worse than the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The top four teams in the conference will head to the America East Championship May 22-25.

Baker Hits Way to Award: Freshman Casey Baker was named America East Rookie of the Week on May 5 after hitting .600 (6-for-10) with six RBI in the three-game series vs. Maine. He had two triples and a double, helping him slug 1.100 for the weekend. It was Baker's second Rookie of the Week honor of the year.

Pitch Perfect: Stony Brook is 22-7 over its last 29 games and that's largely due to the outstanding pitching the team has received. In the 29-game span, Stony Brook has held its opponents to a .222 batting average and just 77 runs. The team has a 2.47 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 251 innings. Tim Knesnik has been the best of the group; he has a 0.51 ERA in 35 innings with 21 strikeouts during the run. Frankie Vanderka has a 2.10 ERA and a .161 opponent batting average during the stretch. Ryley MacEachern has had a 2.45 ERA during the span.

Top Dog on D: Stony Brook's defense has been stellar this season. The #Seawolves currently lead the nation in fielding percentage at .986. Through 42 games, Stony Brook has committed only 23 errors. According to NCAA Stats, the #Seawolves are on pace to set a new Div. I record.

Conference Leaders: Through May 4, Stony Brook leads America East in hitting (.277), fielding (.986), runs (222), RBI (193), walks drawn (184) and opposing batting average (.234). Individually, Kevin Courtney and Kevin Krause are tied for the conference lead in RBI (33). Four of the top 10 in America East in runs scored are #Seawolves.

Krause Takes Home the Honors: Kevin Krause hit .583 at Albany, and it earned him America East Co-Player of the Week honors on April 28. He homered twice and doubled twice in the series, and in addition to driving in nine runs, he scored seven times. It was Krause's first-ever honor.

MacEachern Does It Again: After allowing only one run over seven innings and striking out a career-high eight batters at UMass Lowell, Ryley MacEachern was named America East Co-Rookie of the Week on April 21. It was his second Rookie of the Week honor and the third time overall he's been bestowed a weekly award in the last four weeks. He was Pitcher of the Week on April 14.

Deserving Honors: After going 5-0 during the week, Stony Brook earned a pair of weekly conference honors on April 14 as Jack Parenty was tabbed the America East Player of the Week, and Ryley MacEachern was named the America East Pitcher of the Week. Parenty hit .476 in five games with four extra-base hits and six RBI. MacEachern delivered a pivotal five shutout innings of relief that allowed Stony Brook come back to beat Binghamton 5-4 in 10 innings.

MacEachern Earns the Nod: Stony Brook freshman Ryley MacEachern was named America East Rookie of the Week after pitching his first career complete game shutout in a 1-0 win over Hartford on March 29. MacEachern scattered just three hits and allowed only one Hawks baserunner to reach second base over the seven innings. He struck out seven batters and did not walk a batter.

No-Hit X 3: Frankie Vanderka pitched his third career no-hitter on March 22 when he blanked Albany over nine innings in a 7-0 victory. Vanderka struck out 10 in the game, including the final batter, Brian Bullard, to clinch it. Vanderka is the ONLY active pitcher in NCAA Div. I to throw multiple no-hitters. For his efforts, Vanderka was showered with a slew of awards - he was named America East Pitcher of the Week, NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week, Louisville Slugger Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week, CollegeBaseballInsider.com National Pitcher of the Week, ECAC Metro-Upstate Pitcher of the Week and NCAA.com Top Performer of the Week.

A Stepping Stone to Success: Freshman Cameron Stone of West Haven, Conn., is having a nice start to his collegiate career. He has quickly developed into an option in the late innings, posting 34 strikeouts in 27-1/3 innings pitched and earning eight saves. He helped Stony Brook go into extra innings at Wake Forest with four strong innings of work. He stepped up again in extra innings with three solid innings against Fordham on March 9. Then he recorded saves with a scoreless ninth inning at UC Riverside (March 14) and 2-1/3 shutout innings in the win over USC (March 18). He locked down Stony Brook's 7-3 win over Albany (March 22) with two shutout innings. He came into the seventh inning vs. Marist (April 1) with the tying run on deck and got out of a bases loaded jam and went on to earn the save.

Dominating America East: Stony Brook has been at or near the top of America East now for a few seasons. No team has been more dominant over the last four seasons than the Seawolves, who are 83-33 (.716) in conference play since the start of the 2010 season with two regular season (2011, 2012) and two tournament (2010, 2012) championships.

Chavy and Stone Honored: In addition to Vanderka earning America East Pitcher of the Week honors, two other #Seawolves captured weekly conference awards as Robert Chavarria was named Player of the Week and Cameron Stone was tabbed Rookie of the Week. Chavarria hit .421 and scored eight runs in five games, including scoring game-winning runs against USC and Albany. Stone picked up two saves after pitching 4-1/3 shutout innings, closing out wins over USC and Albany, the win over the Trojans being the first the school's ever recorded against a Pac-12 member.

Conference Format: With the start of conference play, let's review the America East's schedule format. The seven teams will play a 24-game schedule spread out over eight three-game series. The #Seawolves will face two teams both home and away and will face the other four teams just once. Stony Brook's home-and-home partners this season are Albany and Hartford. The team will host Maine and Binghamton and travel to UMass Lowell and UMBC. The top four teams in the conference, not including UMass Lowell, which is ineligible due to NCAA Div. I transitional status, will advance to the 2014 America East Championship, to be held May 22-25 at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass.

California Trip Recap: Stony Brook recently came back from a week in the sun on the west coast where the team faced UC Riverside, USC and Cal State Northridge. The #Seawolves won the first of a three-game series with Riverside only to lose two straight. Then Stony Brook defeated USC, the program's first-ever win against a Pac-12 school. The team finished the trip with a pitcher's duel against Northridge, coming up short in a 1-0 loss. Robert Chavarria dominated on the trip, hitting .500 (9-for-18) with four RBI. Kevin Krause bashed two home runs in the Riverside series. The pitching staff as a whole had a 2.95 ERA, led by impressive starts from Brandon McNitt, Tyler Honahan and Tim Knesnik.

California Pipeline: The #Seawolves have done a tremendous job recruiting the state of California. Stony Brook currently has seven players from Southern California, including Brandon McNitt, Austin Shives, Josh Mason, Chad Lee, Robert Chavarria, Jeremy Giles and Daniel Zamora. All-time #Seawolves wins leader Tyler Johnson (2009-12) also hails from California.

Call It a Sweep: In addition to sweeping Fordham in a three-game series March 8-9, the #Seawolves swept the weekly America East awards as Kevin Courtney was named America East Player of the Week, Frankie Vanderka was tabbed America East Pitcher of the Week and Casey Baker garnered America East Rookie of the Week accolades. Courtney batted .467 with four extra-base hits and a walk-off double in the 14th inning of a 10-9 win over the Rams. In the first game of the series, Vanderka blanked Fordham by scattering three hits over nine innings while striking out 11. Baker went 6-for-9 with three runs scored and a critical walk in the 12th inning of the series finale vs. Fordham that helped keep the game alive.

Preseason Favorite: Stony Brook has been picked as the co-favorite to win America East in 2014, according to the coaches' preseason poll released on Feb. 4. Stony Brook and defending tournament champion Binghamton both received three first-place votes. Defending America East regular season champion Maine was picked third, followed by Hartford fourth, Albany fifth, UMBC sixth and league newcomer UMass Lowell seventh.

In the Record Books: Senior Brandon McNitt is fifth in program history in wins (23), ninth in strikeouts (208) and third in innings pitched (330-2/3). Senior Frankie Vanderka is tied for second in complete games (15) among Seawolves in the Div. I era (2000-present).

Seawolves in the Pros: Stony Brook Baseball has a tremendous reputation and traditon of sending its graduates to professional baseball. The program has had 19 student-athletes selected in the Major League Baseball draft and 10 others sign Minor League free agent contracts. Twenty other Seawolves have signed and played in the Independent Leagues. Currently, there are 10 former Seawolves active in the Major League and Minor League systems, including Joe Nathan, who is the closer for the Detroit Tigers, and Tom Koeher, a starter for the Miami Marlins. In 2012 alone, Stony Brook had seven players drafted alone, including first-rounder Travis Jankowski.

Joe Nathan Field: Stony Brook University has a fantastic baseball facility, thanks in large part to Seawolves Baseball alumnus Joe Nathan '97, who donated the lead gift to renovate the baseball field, which was transformed into Joe Nathan Field. Opened in May 2011 and dedicated in October 2011, Joe Nathan Field boasts new FieldTurf, new dugouts, new bullpens, new hitting tunnels and a new scoreboard, courtesy of Bethpage Federal Credit Union.

Recapping Last Season: After a difficult start to the 2013 season, Stony Brook rebounded nicely by winning its final four America East series to qualify for the America East Championship for the eighth consecutive year, which is the longest active streak among the current member institutions. Stony Brook fell short of winning the tournament title after losing to Maine, beating Albany to stay alive and then falling to Maine again in an elimination game. Outstanding individual performances included first baseman Kevin Courtney, starting pitcher Frankie Vanderka and outfielder Jack Parenty earning first-team All-America East honors, reliever Tim Knesnik, catcher Anthony Italiano and third baseman Johnny Caputo making second-team All-America East and Parenty grabbing America East Rookie of the Year honors.

Shock the World: Stony Brook is just two years removed from one of the more magical seasons in collegiate baseball history. The #Seawolves captured the nation's attention by beating six-time national champion LSU in the best 2-out-of-3 NCAA Super Regional to advance to the College World Series, becoming the first school from the Northeast Region since 1986 to do so. The #Seawolves finished the year with a nation-leading 52 victories, which led to head coach Matt Senk earning NCBWA National Coach of the Year honors.

Up Next: Stony Brook heads to UMBC for a three-game series with the Retrievers, beginning with a Friday single game and then a Saturday doubleheader.