Baseball opens America East Championship vs. Maine
May 21, 2013
2013 Stony Brook Baseball
Game 57: Stony Brook vs. Maine
Stony Brook Seawolves (24-32, 15-15 America East)
Maine Black Bears (34-20, 20-9 America East)
The Warmup: Stony Brook looks to defend its America East Championship title this week as it heads to LeLacheur Park to participate in the 2013 America East Championship. The Seawolves earned the No. 4 seed in the tournament and has now participated in the championship in each of the last eight seasons, the longest active streak among the six America East baseball schools. Stony Brook, which is 19-12 all-time in the tournament, is in search of back-to-back tournament crowns and fifth overall. Stony Brook has won the title seeded first, second, third and fourth in its history, including its first-ever championship in 2004 when the Seawolves were the No. 4 seed.
The Matchup: As a result of its fourth seed, Stony Brook has drawn top seed Maine, which won the regular season championship (first since 2002) with a 20-9 record. The Black Bears took four out of six games from the Seawolves this season, winning both series at home and on the road. Four out of the six games were one-run affairs with the Black Bears coming out on top in three of them. Stony Brook is 8-5 all-time against Maine during the America East Championship, 4-1 when the two teams meet on the first day. This is a rematch of last season’s first game when the roles were reversed: the top seeded Seawolves beat the fourth-seeded Black Bears.
The Regular Season: Stony Brook came into 2012 having lost 11 letterwinners from last season’s team that went to the College World Series, including seven Major League Baseball draft picks. The Seawolves dug themselves an early hole in conference play, going 4-8 in the first 12 games. However, the reslient Seawolves ended the regular season by winning nine of their last 13 conference games. On the final weekend, Stony Brook came out on the better end of a winner-take-all series at Hartford, winning two out of three, including the clinching rubber game last Saturday. The Seawolves finished 15-15 in America East, their eighth consecutive season finishing .500 or better in the conference.
Boasting Awards: Freshman Jack Parenty headlined Stony Brook’s haul of conference season awards as he was named America East Rookie of the Year, the conference office announced Tuesday. Parenty gives Stony Brook its fourth consecutive America East Rookie of the Year, joining Willie Carmona (2010), Brandon McNitt (2011) and Cole Peragine (2012). Parenty also was named first-team All-America East, the first Seawolves freshman since Carmona in 2010 to make it onto the first team. Joining him on the first team are pitcher Frankie Vanderka and first baseman Kevin Courtney. Vanderka moves up from earning second-team honors last season, and Courtney picks up his first-ever All-Conference award. On the second team are three first-time All-Conference honorees: freshman relief pitcher Tim Knesnik, junior catcher Anthony Italiano and freshman third baseman Johnny Caputo. Parenty, Knesnik and freshman starting pitcher Daniel Zamora were all named to the America East All-Rookie team.
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 three seasons than the Seawolves, who are 58-20 (.744) in conference play since the start of the 2011 season.
Nothing Wrong With Four: Stony Brook may be the lowest seed in the America East Championship, but there’s no reason the Seawolves can’t win the tournament. In fact, since the tournament went to four teams in 1998, the No. 4 seed has won the championship twice and been the runner-up four other times. Stony Brook was one of the teams to win as a No. 4 seed, taking the crown in 2004.
Youth Movement: Stony Brook has given numerous underclassmen significant playing time, and many of them have excelled. Freshmen and sophomores account for 60.6% of the team’s at-bats and 45.6% of the team’s innings pitched.
The Complete Package: Junior starter Frankie Vanderka ranks second in the nation in complete games with eight. Earlier this season, he tossed four consecutive complete games. He leads America East in innings pitched (95-1/3) and is second in ERA (2.27).
Parenty’s on a Roll: Freshman Jack Parenty has been Stony Brook’s most consistent offensive threat. He leads the team in hits (69), runs scored (30), total bases (77) and on-base percentage (.390). He is currently on a 10-game hitting streak and earlier this season had an 18-game hitting streak. He has 16 multi-hit games this season, including three four-hit games.
A Cannon Behind the Plate: Junior catcher Anthony Italiano was tested behind the plate all season, but did a phenomenal job limiting base stealers. He is currently 35-for-78 in throwing out base stealers, which is good for a 44.9% caught stealing percentage.
Frankie Say No-No: Earlier this season, junior starter Frankie Vanderka pitched his second career no-hitter. On March 10, Vanderka held the Fordham Rams hitless over nine innings, and the Seawolves won the game with two runs in the ninth inning. Interestingly enough, the game was only a seven-inning game, but the two teams kept playing because the game was scoreless. Vanderka pitched his first no-hitter two years ago as a freshman, when he struck out 13 in a win over NJIT. For his efforts, Vanderka was named America East Pitcher of the Week, CollegeBaseballInsider.com Northeast Region Player of the Week, NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week and a Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week.
In the Record Books: Senior Tanner Nivins has his name all over the Stony Brook career record books. He is the school’s all-time leader in games played (223) and is sixth in hits (213), eighth in doubles (42), third in triples (12), fifth in RBI (144) and 10th in stolen bases (24). Junior Brandon McNitt is fifth in program history in wins (18), ninth in strikeouts (164) and third in innings pitched (278-2/3). Junior Frankie Vanderka is fourth in complete games (12) among Seawolves in the Div. I era.
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 Texas Rangers, and Tom Koeher, a starter for the Miami Marlins.
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.