#Seawolves host Hartford with regular season crown on the line

Josh Mason

May 15, 2014

2014 Stony Brook Baseball

Stony Brook, N.Y. -  

Weekend 13 - America East Baseball - Friday, May 16-Saturday, May 17
Stony Brook (31-15, 16-4) vs. Hartford (29-19, 15-5)
Joe Nathan Field  •  Stony Brook, N.Y.
Friday - 10 a.m. Doubleheader  •  Saturday - 12 p.m.
Fri., Game 1 - STATS  |  VIDEO
SB Starter: RHP Frankie Vanderka
HART Starter: LHP Sean Newcomb

Fri., Game 2 - STATS  |  VIDEO
 SB Starter: RHP Brandon McNitt
HART Starter: RHP Brian Hunter

Sat., - STATS  |  AUDIO  |  VIDEO
SB Starter: LHP Tyler Honahan
HART Starter: RHP Kyle Gauthier

Stony Brook #Seawolves (31-15, 16-4 America East)
Head Coach:
Matt Senk, 24th season
Overall Record: 679-440-3
Record at SB:

The Matchup: It is winner take all this weekend as the #Seawolves and Hartford close out the regular season with a three-game series at Joe Nathan Field. The team that claims at least two of the three games will earn the No. 1 seed in the America East Championship. If Stony Brook only wins one game this weekend, it will still earn a share of the conference's regular season title. Hartford is in search of its first-ever regular season championship, and Stony Brook is seeking its third. The two teams played earlier this season and split a pair of games with the third game cancelled due to rain. The first game of this series will be particularly fun to watch as Hartford's Sean Newcomb opposes Stony Brook's Frankie Vanderka on the mound. They are one and two in opponent batting average in America East, respectively. Stony Brook has dominated the all-time series, having won 19 of the last 22 meetings and holding a 38-9 overall lead.

Last Weekend: The #Seawolves rocked UMBC last weekend, sweeping the three-game series in convincing fashion as they scored 26 runs and held the Retrievers to just nine runs and a .189 batting average. Kevin Krause delivered seven RBI and scored five runs while hitting .538 (7-for-13) for the weekend. Cole Peragine also had a big weekend, hitting .636 (7-for-11) against UMBC. Frankie Vanderka, Brandon McNitt and Tyler Honahan all delivered quality starts and all won their games.

Senior Day: On Saturday, Stony Brook will honor its seven graduating seniors - Josh Barry, Kevin Courtney, Anthony Italiano, Joshua Mason, Brandon McNitt, Bryan Tatelman and Frankie Vanderka. The group has made a phenomenal impact for Stony Brook, winning two regular season championships, one tournament title and the famous "Shock the World" run to the College World Series. 

Honoring the Past: This is the 10th anniversary of Stony Brook winning its first America East Baseball Championship. Back in 2004, the fourth-seeded #Seawolves edged Vermont by one game to earn the final spot in the tournament. Then they upset top-seeded Northeastern and then topped Maine twice on the Black Bears' home field to take home the title. Isidro Fortuna was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after hitting .538 with a double, two RBI and four runs scored.

Last 10: Over the last 10 games, Stony Brook has been on an offensive tear. The #Seawolves have eclipsed the 10-run mark six times and the 10-hit mark seven times. In that span, Stony Brook is hitting .329 as a team with 88 runs scored. Cole Peragine has been the top hitter at .486. Kevin Krause is hitting .475 with four home runs, 21 RBI and 19 runs scored.

Krause Honored Again: For the second time this season, Kevin Krause picked up America East Player of the Week honors, nabbing the award on May 12. He clobbered the ball in four games last week, hitting .588 (10-for-17) with two home runs, 11 RBI and eight runs scored. He slugged 1.059 for the week and had four extra base hits total. He homered twice against NYIT and produced a pair of four-RBI games.

Conference Leaders: Through May 14, Stony Brook leads America East in hitting (.285), on-base percentage (.374), fielding (.984), runs (263), RBI (228), walks drawn (201), fewest runs allowed (162) and opposing batting average (.230). Individually, Kevin Krause leads the conference in home runs (7), RBI (44), slugging (.533) and total bases (90). Kevin Courtney leads the league in runs scored (40) and hits (63). Four of the top five players in the league in runs scored are #Seawolves. Tyler Honahan leads America East with seven pitching wins.

Courtney Goes Cycling: On May 7 at NYIT, Kevin Courtney had a field day against the Bears, hitting for the cycle, the first in the program since Brian Witkowski did it on May 19, 2006. He was 5-for-6 on the day with two singles, a double, triple and home run. The homer was a three-run blast in the first inning that gave the #Seawolves a 4-0 lead and they went on to win, 15-4. Courtney finished the game with four RBI and three hits. His five hits were a career high. It was the first five-hit game by a Stony Brook player since Willie Carmona did it in 2012.

Playoff Scenario: At 16-4 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 one game ahead of Hartford for first place and cannot finish any lower than second. Stony Brook, Hartford, Binghamton and Maine have all clinched spots and will head to the America East Championship May 22-25.

Pitch Perfect: Stony Brook is 26-7 over its last 33 games and that's largely due to the outstanding pitching the team has received. In the 33-game span, Stony Brook has held its opponents to a .218 batting average and just 90 runs. The team has a 2.56 ERA and 215 strikeouts in 285 innings. Tim Knesnik has been the best of the group; he has a 0.50 ERA in 36 innings with 22 strikeouts during the run. Frankie Vanderka has a 2.31 ERA and a .175 opponent batting average during the stretch. Ryley MacEachern has had a 2.45 ERA during the span.

Six is the Magic Number: For Stony Brook to be successful, the #Seawolves' magic number is six. If they score six or more runs in a game, they are 21-1 this season. If they hold their opponent under six runs a game, they are 29-9 this season.

Holding the Lead: Stony Brook has done a good job holding onto a late lead when it gets one. The #Seawolves are 22-2 this season when leading after eight innings.

Top Dog on D: Stony Brook's defense has been stellar this season. The #Seawolves currently lead the nation in fielding percentage at .984. Through 46 games, Stony Brook has committed only 27 errors.

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 86-33 (.723) in conference play since the start of the 2010 season with two regular season (2011, 2012) and two tournament (2010, 2012) championships.

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.

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 36 strikeouts in 28-1/3 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.

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.

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 fourth in program history in wins (24), seventh in strikeouts (217) and second in innings pitched (336-2/3). Senior Frankie Vanderka is second in complete games (16) 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 is in search of its fifth America East Championship title and will go for it next week at the 2014 conference tournament, held at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. The first round will take place Thursday at either 2 or 6 p.m. Visit America East's Championship Central for more information.