Baseball faces Hartford with playoff spot on the line
May 16, 2013
2013 Stony Brook Baseball
Games 54-56: Stony Brook vs. Hartford
Stony Brook Seawolves (22-31, 13-14 America East)
Hartford Hawks (16-35, 12-15 America East)
About the Weekend: The final spot in the four-team America East Championship is up for grabs, and Stony Brook and Hartford will battle to claim it this weekend up in West Hartford, Conn. The winner of this three-game series will head to Lowell, Mass., to compete for the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The loser will be eliminated. The Seawolves, who have the longest active streak of America East Championship berths, are looking to reach the tournament for the eighth consecutive season. Meanwhile, Hartford is looking to reach the tournament for the first time since 1996. Stony Brook won the first series between these two teams, 2-1, at home and has not dropped a series to the Hawks since 2007.
The Scenario: Stony Brook is 13-14 in America East, one game ahead of Hartford (12-15) for fourth place and the final spot in the America East Championship. If both teams finish the season tied (14-16), then Hartford would win the tiebreaker based on having a better record against the highest finishing team in the conference (Hartford went 3-3 vs. Maine, SB only 2-4). Here are the scenarios, which are based on everyone playing all three games this weekend (i.e. no rainouts):
Dominating the League: No one has been more dominant in conference play over the last few seasons than Stony Brook. Since the start of the 2011 season, the Seawolves are 56-19 (.747) against their America East foes.
Last Time Out: Stony Brook ended its non-conference schedule with a 5-2 loss to Sacred Heart after stranding 10 runners on base. Jack Parenty went 4-for-5 and Kevin Courtney was 1-for-2 with two walks and a hit by pitch. Parenty now has three four-hit games this season and is third in the conference in hitting with a .346 average.
The Complete Package: Earlier this season, Frankie Vanderka tossed four consecutive complete games, all Seawolves wins. He is second in the nation in complete games with seven, just three behind the national leader. He is second in America East with a 2.34 ERA.
Knesnik Brilliant Again: Tim Knesnik has shown a knack for coming up big in relief. The freshman right-hander earned the victory in Stony Brook's 7-5 win at UMBC on May 5 after pitching five scoreless innings in relief. He scattered five hits and struck out four. In the ninth inning, he escaped a tough first-and-second, no outs jam to give the Seawolves momentum heading into extra innings.
Courtney Slugs His Way to an Award: Kevin Courtney was named America East Player of the Week on April 29 after hitting .333 and slugging .833 in five games. He homered twice in Stony Brook's three-game series at Binghamton and drove in seven runs. One of his homers was a grand slam and served as the game-winner in a 5-1 victory. Courtney is dominating during conference play. In 27 America East games, he's hitting .352 with a conference-best six home runs and 27 RBI.
Zamora Cleans Up: Daniel Zamora repeated as America East Rookie of the Week on April 29 after tossing seven strong innings and allowing just one run in Stony Brook's 8-4 series-clinching win at Binghamton. He now has been named Rookie of the Week four times.
Knesnik Pitches In: Freshman Tim Knesnik became the fourth different Stony Brook player to earn America East Rookie of the Week honors when he was the recipient of the award on April 15. Knesnik pitched eight innings last week, tossing three hitless innings against Manhattan and then pitching five innings of relief and earning the victory in Stony Brook's 5-4 extra innings win vs. Hartford. In the eight innings, Knesnik allowed just one run and struck out six batters. He helped keep Stony Brook in the game vs. Hartford when he escaped a first-and-third, no outs situation in the 10th inning without giving up a run.
Zamora Earns the Honor: Freshman Daniel Zamora struck out a career-high nine batters on his way to his first collegiate victory, a 5-2 win over UMBC on March 30. The effort earned him America East Rookie of the Week honors.
Parenty on a Roll: Freshman Jack Parenty was named America East Rookie of the Week on March 25 after hitting .533 in four games. He had an 18-game hitting streak earlier in the season, during which he hit .387.
Frankie Say No-No: On March 10, Frankie Vanderka once again etched his name into the record books by throwing a no-hitter against Fordham in the Seawolves' 2-0 win. Vanderka pitched nine innings and struck out six hitters while walking three (one intentionally). The no-hitter was the second of his career and it earned him national, regional and conference honors. He was named a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week, the NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week, CollegeBaseballInsider.com Northeast Region Pitcher of the Week and America East Pitcher of the Week.
Shives Honored: Austin Shives was named America East Rookie of the Week on March 11. He batted .417 in four games that week, second-best on the team, while driving in two runs, both coming in Stony Brook's 5-1 win over Iona on March 5. He followed that performance with a three-hit game at Fordham, the first three-hit game of his young career.
Weekly Honors: Stony Brook pitchers Frankie Vanderka and Daniel Zamora picked up weekly honors from America East on Feb. 18. Vanderka was named Pitcher of the Week after posting six shutout innings at Florida International. Zamora was named Rookie of the Week for tossing six innings and allowing just one run and striking out six in his collegiate debut at Florida International.
Seawolves in the Pros: Stony Brook currently has nine players active in Major and Minor League Baseball, seven of whom were on active opening day rosters. The group is headlined five-time MLB All-Star Joe Nathan. Read the full story here.
America East Championship Heads to Lowell: The 2013 America East Championship will be moving to a neutral site - LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass., home of the Boston Red Sox Class A Short Season affiliate Lowell Spinners. The four-team tournament takes place May 22-24, and the winner receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Shock the World: Stony Brook had a dream 2012 season, reaching the College World Series for the first time ever after knocking off six-time national champion LSU in the NCAA Super Regionals. Relive the run by reading the season recap.