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Stony Brook baseball blows five-run lead in loss to St. John’s

Left fielder Matt Brown-Eiring bats against Siena on Friday, March 8. Brown-Eiring went 3-for-5 with a triple, a stolen base and a run scored in the Stony Brook baseball team’s loss to St. John’s on Wednesday. BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

In its first midweek game of the year, the Stony Brook baseball team blew a five-run lead to suffer a crushing defeat.

After making the short drive to Queens on Wednesday, the Seawolves (7-8) matched up with the St. John’s Red Storm (10-4). After holding a lead for much of the contest, a late rally from St. John’s handed Stony Brook a heartbreaking 9-8 loss.

The Seawolves drew first blood in the top of the first inning when designated hitter Erik Paulsen launched his second home run of the season to straight away center field. However, the Red Storm had an immediate answer. With two runners in scoring position and only one out, St. John’s catcher Jimmy Keenan drove in both with a double into the left-center field gap.

Unfazed by the early deficit, the Seawolves punched right back in their next turn at-bat. After third baseman Evan Goforth and second baseman Johnny Pilla set the table with a pair of singles, catcher Nick Solorzano tied the game up with one of his own to rack up the run batted in (RBI). Following Solorzano’s base knock, starting pitcher Andrew Castelluccio uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Pilla to score. To top it off, shortstop Matt Miceli grounded one through the middle to score Solorzano and give his team a 4-2 lead.

Goforth tacked on another run in the top of the third inning, but the Red Storm got it right back with an RBI double from shortstop Luke Orbon.

Both sides exchanged scoreless halves of the fourth inning before Stony Brook distanced itself in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back singles by left fielder Matt Brown-Eiring and first baseman Brett Paulsen set the Seawolves up with runners on the corners and also chased St. John’s relief pitcher A.J. Lausten from the game. In Lausten’s stead, relief pitcher Chad Falcon walked Pilla and sent ball four to the backstop, allowing Brown-Eiring to scamper home and extend the lead.

Solorzano followed up by lacing a two-run double into the right-center field gap, stretching Stony Brook’s lead to 8-3.

Now down by five runs, the Red Storm had a tall task ahead of them but got significantly closer in the bottom of the seventh inning. St. John’s third baseman Jayder Raifstanger and second baseman Anthony Brienza opened the frame with singles against relief pitcher Jerek Hobb, who then gave way to fellow relief pitcher Ty Stout.

After Stout induced a pair of flyouts, Orbon found the gap in right-center and raced his way to third base with a two-RBI triple. Keenan followed by blasting a long two-run home run over the left-center field fence to pull the Red Storm within one.

St. John’s relief pitchers Ben Adams and Jed Boyle set down the Seawolves’ offense in the top of the eighth and ninth innings, giving their team a shot in its final turn at-bat.

With relief pitcher Ty Saunders staying out for a second inning of work, center fielder Jackson Tucker got the Red Storm going with a leadoff single. Right fielder Ben Beauchamp followed in suit with a base knock of his own, chasing Saunders from the game in favor of Erik Paulsen.

Paulsen retired his first assignment by getting Orbon to ground out before head coach Matt Senk put up four fingers, signaling an automatic free pass for Keenan. With the bases now loaded, Paulsen could not find the zone against St. John’s designated hitter Paul Orbon, forcing in the game-tying run.

With the game knotted up, Paulsen went to work against first baseman Aidan Cohall and got ahead of him 0-2. However, Cohall lined one over Stony Brook’s drawn-in infield to plate Beauchamp and walk it off.

The Seawolves’ offense was once again led by Brown-Eiring, who finished 3-for-5 with a triple, a stolen base and a run scored. Solorzano had his best day with his new team thus far, going 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and a run. Pilla went 2-for-3, drew a walk and scored two runs. Erik Paulsen finished 2-for-5 at the plate with a home run, one RBI and two runs scored.

Both Miceli and Goforth went 1-for-3 with an RBI. Miceli added a walk to his ledger while Goforth chipped in a sacrifice fly and a run scored.

On the pitching side, Raab went three innings in his first start of the season while allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk. He struck out three batters during his short stint. Hobb also surrendered two earned runs on three hits across three innings of work, striking out a pair.

Stout conceded two runs on three hits over the 1 ⅔ innings he pitched. Saunders was tagged with the loss after retiring just one batter and allowing two earned runs on a base hit and a walk.

Senk did not speak to the media after the game.

Stony Brook will be back in action on Friday and will continue its tour of the Big East Conference when it takes on Seton Hall in New Jersey for a three-game series. The Pirates are 10-6 this year after a 7-6 win over Saint Peter’s on Wednesday. First pitch of the series opener is set for 4 p.m.

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