#Seawolves vie for fifth tournament title this week at America East Championship

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Robert Chavarria
 
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May 21, 2014

2014 Stony Brook Baseball

Lowell, Mass. -  

2014 America East Championship - Thursday, May 22-Saturday, May 24
Stony Brook (33-16, 18-5) vs. Hartford (30-21, 16-7) vs. Binghamton (21-24, 11-12) vs. Maine (24-27, 10-11)
LeLacheur Park  •  Lowell, Mass.
Stony Brook's First Game: Thursday at 2 p.m.
LIVE LINKS: VISIT AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP CENTRAL

Stony Brook #Seawolves (33-16, 18-5 America East)
Head Coach:
Matt Senk, 24th season
Overall Record: 681-441-3
Record at SB:
same 


The Warmup: Stony Brook, the America East regular season champion, looks to maintain its spot on the top of the conference as it heads to LeLacheur Park to participate in the 2014 America East Championship. The Seawolves are the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the third time in program history and has now participated in the championship in each of the last nine seasons, the longest active streak among the seven America East baseball schools. Stony Brook, which is 20-14 all-time in the tournament, is in search of its fifth tournament title, all of them coming in the last 10 years. In fact, this is 10-year anniversary of the program’s first America East crown, which came when the #Seawolves defeated host Maine in the tournament final on May 29, 2004.

First-Round Matchup: As a result of its top seed, Stony Brook has drawn No. 4 Maine. The two teams have a rich history of facing each other in the tournament. In fact, this has been the first game matchup in each of the last two seasons. In 2012, top-seed Stony Brook beat Maine. In 2013, the roles were reversed, and top-seed Maine defeated Stony Brook. The #Seawolves are 8-7 all-time against the Black Bears in the tournament, including 4-2 when the teams meet on the first day. During this year’s regular season, Stony Brook took two out of three games. Maine won game one, 2-1, on Tommy Lawrence’s complete game. The #Seawolves recovered with an 11-3 victory in game two as Cole Peragine and Casey Baker each drove in three runs. Stony Brook then won the rubber game, 4-1, after Peragine had a two-run triple in the eighth inning to break a 1-1 tie.

Regular Season Recap: Stony Brook opened the 2014 season 0-6, but the #Seawolves have been red hot since, winning 33 out of 43 games to earn their 11th 30-win season in program history, all of them coming under head coach Matt Senk. The team had some big wins on the season, including a 4-3 victory over USC, the program’s first-ever win over a member of the Pac-12 Conference. Stony Brook also secured big wins over potential NCAA team Bryant and Northeast Region power Connecticut at the Dodd Stadium College Baseball Classic. During America East play, the #Seawolves dominated by starting out 8-1 and never falling more than one game out of first place. They locked up their third-ever regular season champinship last weekend when they took two out of three from Hartford.

Boasting Awards: Stony Brook captured three of the America East’s four major awards to headline the team’s haul of conference season awards. Junior Kevin Krause was named the Len Harlow America East Player of the Year, the third time in program history a #Seawolves player has earned the honor, joining Willie Carmona (2011) and Travis Jankowski (2012). Freshman Cameron Stone was named the America East Rookie of the Year, the fifth consecutive season that Stony Brook has taken the top freshman honor. Willie Carmona (2010), Brandon McNitt (2011), Cole Peragine (2012) and Jack Parenty (2013) were the others. Head Coach Matt Senk was named America East Coach of the Year for the third time (2011, 2012). Krause,  Stone and Peragine were all named first-team All-America East for the first time this season. Frankie Vanderka and Kevin Courtney were also placed on the first team for a second consecutive season. McNitt was named first team for the second time in his career (2012 previously). Parenty and Tyler Honahan were second-team selections. Stone, Casey Baker and Ryley MacEachern were all named to the America East All-Rookie team.

Looking to Protect Number One: Stony Brook is the No. 1 seed in the America East Championship for the third time. The #Seawolves have won the tournament previously as a No. 4 seed in 2004, No. 2 seed in 2008, No. 3 seed in 2010 and No. 1 seed in 2012. But Stony Brook will be looking to buck a trend: in the 21-year history of this conference tournament, the No. 1 seed has won the title only nine times.

Last Weekend: The #Seawolves needed two out of three wins last weekend vs. Hartford to secure the outright regular season championship and No. 1 seed. After falling in game one, 6-1, on a dominating performance by Hartford starter Sean Newcomb, Stony Brook rebounded with stellar 5-1 and 4-2 wins in the final two games to secure the championship. Brandon McNitt pitched a complete game in game two, striking out eight while Anthony Italiano had a three-run triple. In the clincher, Kevin Krause homered and drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.

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 21, Stony Brook leads America East in on-base percentage (.370), fielding (.984), runs scored (273), RBI (237), walks drawn (208), triples (14), fewest runs allowed (162) and opposing batting average (.229). Individually, Kevin Krause leads the conference in home runs (8), RBI (46), runs scored (42), slugging (.539) and total bases (97).

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.

Pitch Perfect: Stony Brook is 28-8 over its last 36 games and that's largely due to the outstanding pitching the team has received. In the 36-game span, Stony Brook has held its opponents to a .217 batting average and just 99 runs. The team has a 2.61 ERA and 231 strikeouts in 310 innings. Tim Knesnik has been the best of the group; he has a 0.48 ERA in 37-2/3 innings with 24 strikeouts during the run. Frankie Vanderka has a 3.11 ERA and a .190 opponent batting average during the stretch. Tyler Honahan is 6-2 with 44 strikeouts and a .200 opponent batting average during the 36-game run. Brandon McNitt is 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA.

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 31-9 this season. 

Holding the Lead: Stony Brook has done a good job holding onto a late lead when it gets one. The #Seawolves are 23-2 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 49 games, Stony Brook has committed only 29 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 88-34 (.721) 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: There are a few #Seawolves that have etched their name in the program’s record book. Senior Brandon McNitt is tied for second in program history in wins (25), seventh in strikeouts (225) and first in innings pitched (343-2/3). Senior Kevin Courtney is sixth in doubles (52) and ninth in RBI (132). Senior Frankie Vanderka is tied for eighth in wins (16), fourth in ERA (2.83), fifth in innings pitched (270) and 11th in strikeouts (181).

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.