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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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Sloppiness costs Stony Brook baseball in loss to CCSU

Right fielder Rob Taylor rounds first base after hitting a two-run home run against Central Connecticut State University on Wednesday, March 19. Taylor went 2-for-4 in the loss. IRENE YIMMONGKOL/THE STATESMAN

Defensive blunders and pitching woes plagued the Stony Brook baseball team as it let another winnable midweek game slip away.

The Seawolves (9-10) played one of their sloppiest defensive games in years at Joe Nathan Field on Tuesday for a contest against the Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) Blue Devils (5-6, 4-2 NEC). Aided by five errors from Stony Brook’s defense, CCSU scored nine unearned runs to hand it a 15-8 loss.

After striking out the first four batters he faced, starting pitcher Colton Book’s defense let him down with two outs in the top of the second inning. A fly ball to center fielder Cam Santerre got lost in the sun, leading to a triple. Now with a man on third base, left fielder Gianno Merlonghi gave the Blue Devils the lead with a double into the left-center field gap to make it 1-0.

The Seawolves responded immediately in the home half when right fielder Rob Taylor crushed a two-run home run onto Circle Road off CCSU starting pitcher Bryce DiPiero. With one more out to get in the same inning, shortstop Matt Miceli pulled a routine ground ball to third baseman Aidan Redahan, but it snuck between his legs. Immediately after, Santerre laced a run-scoring triple that bounced over right fielder Michael Torniero’s head. Designated hitter Erik Paulsen followed by driving him in with an opposite-field double to make it 4-1.

After the game, head coach Matt Senk gushed over Paulsen, who went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a run batted in (RBI) and a run scored.

“Erik Paulsen is ahead of his years,” Senk said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “He’s everything we would hope he would be. He’s not fazed by Division I baseball.”

In the top of the third inning, a Torniero single followed by a throwing error from Book and a hit-by-pitch combined to load the bases for the Blue Devils. With two outs, CCSU catcher Jeff Nicol singled home a pair to cut Stony Brook’s lead down to 4-3.

In the top of the fourth inning, back at his old stomping ground, second baseman Brady Short flipped the script for the Blue Devils. Short — who started his collegiate career with the Seawolves — put his team ahead 6-4 with a wall-scraping, three-run homer to right field.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Paulsen lined his second double of the game and advanced on consecutive fly outs from left fielder Matt Brown-Eiring and third baseman Evan Goforth to score.

To start the top of the sixth inning, Senk pulled the plug on Book. His season-long struggles were still evident, as he allowed six runs (four earned), seven hits and a hit-by-pitch across five innings. However, Book showed signs of life, as he racked up seven strikeouts without issuing a walk.

Relief pitcher Quinlan Montgomery took the bump and plunked Merlonghi to begin his outing. With two outs, Short laid down a bunt that came back to Montgomery, but he sailed the throw to first, allowing Merlonghi to score. Immediately after, CCSU designated hitter Colby Brouillette crushed a two-run bomb to right-center field to put the Seawolves in a 9-5 hole.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Taylor reached on an error and second baseman Johnny Pilla doubled to put two runners in scoring position. Catcher Ryan Micheli and Miceli each bounced into productive groundouts to drive in runs. Now with the bases empty and two outs, right fielder Matty Wright pulled a pinch-hit single and Paulsen followed by doing the same to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch by relief pitcher Jack Kelley allowed Wright to score, cutting Stony Brook’s deficit down to just a run.

Despite the Seawolves’ strong offensive showing, the Blue Devils scored a pair of runs in the top of the seventh inning to take the momentum back. With two runners in scoring position, Torniero grounded out to shortstop to drive in a run off relief pitcher Ty Panariello. Senk pulled Panariello in favor of relief pitcher Jerek Hobb, who promptly served up an opposite-field RBI single to Short, making it an 11-8 ballgame.

Over the last two innings, a two-run single by CCSU shortstop Elliot Good and two more errors by Stony Brook helped put the game’s finishing touches on.

Senk had no diagnosis for the poor defense and pitching.

“[CCSU] came here ready to play and we made way too many mistakes,” Senk said. “We’ve been pitching well, we’ve been playing defense well and … if i can explain why this happens sometimes, I’d be a very wealthy man.”

It was a rough day for the Seawolves’ bullpen, as no one fared well. Montgomery recorded just two outs and allowed three unearned runs, two hits, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Panariello pitched an inning to the tune of two hits, two runs and a strikeout.

Hobb struck out one batter and allowed three unearned runs, four hits and a walk over an inning. In 1 ⅓ innings of work, relief pitcher Brendan Pattermann surrendered an unearned run and a walk.

At the dish, other Stony Brook players had some good performances besides Paulsen. Taylor went 2-for-4 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs. Santerre went 1-for-3 with an RBI triple and a run before being pulled in favor of Wright, who went 1-for-2 and also scored once. Goforth went 1-for-3 with an RBI on a sacrifice fly. Miceli, Micheli, Goforth and Santerre all drove in one run apiece.

Other than Book and Montgomery, Pilla, Miceli and catcher Chris Leone all committed one error apiece.

The Seawolves will now turn their attention to the Coastal Athletic Association, as they will head down to Virginia for a three-game set with the William & Mary Tribe this upcoming weekend. The Tribe are 14-6 this season and will match up against Norfolk State on Wednesday before they butt heads with Stony Brook. The series will open at 6 p.m. on Friday before a 3 p.m. first pitch on Saturday. The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

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About the Contributor
Anthony DiCocco
Anthony DiCocco, Assistant Sports Editor
Anthony DiCocco is an Assistant Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a sophomore majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports derives from years of playing dek hockey and watching his favorite teams, the New York Islanders, New York Mets and New York Jets. He is the beat reporter for Stony Brook’s hockey and softball teams. He has also covered football, baseball, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper the Devil’s Tale at Plainedge High School. He is a local product from North Massapequa, N.Y.
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