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Rhein’s career day pushes Stony Brook baseball past Iona

Relief pitcher Colin Rhein fires a pitch against Iona on Tuesday, March 26. Rhein made his first career start against the Gaels and dazzled over 8 innings. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

Behind a career outing from relief pitcher Colin Rhein, the Stony Brook baseball team dominated its midweek matchup.

The Seawolves (11-12, 1-2 CAA) returned to Joe Nathan Field on Tuesday, where they squared off with the Iona Gaels (4-18, 0-3 MAAC). On the back of a stellar start from Rhein, Stony Brook easily cruised to an 8-2 win.

After entering the game with an earned run average over 15, Rhein surrendered just a pair of unearned runs on two hits and a walk while striking out five batters over 8 ⅓ innings pitched. He attributed his about-face to his control of the strike zone.

“I’m just really buying into what the coaches had to say,” Rhein said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “They really emphasized pounding the zone and letting your defense make plays for you and that’s what we did today. I trust the seven guys behind me … [they] made plays and that’s all I could ask for.”

Head coach Matt Senk also sang Rhein’s praises after his terrific start.

“He just attacked,” Senk said. “He had good tilt on his fastball and he really didn’t have bad misses. Overall, he just performed great and it’s unfortunate that he wasn’t able to get the complete game. Colin’s more than capable and hopefully, this is going to bode well for us and him moving forward.”

In the bottom of the second inning with two runners in scoring position, right fielder Chris Carson lined a single into center field to score both of them. In the next frame, left fielder Matt Brown-Eiring second baseman Johnny Pilla hit back-to-back doubles to tack on another run.

After letting the Gaels hang around for a bit, the Seawolves broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth inning. With two men on and one out, right fielder Matty Wright dumped a single into right field. Though Carson was initially held up at third base, Iona right fielder Carter Groen made a poor throw that allowed him to score.

Now with two runners in scoring position, first baseman Erik Paulsen notched a two-run single off relief pitcher Cooper Haseley. Immediately after, Brown-Eiring slashed his second double of the contest into right field to score Paulsen and make it 7-0.

Following his second consecutive game with two doubles, Brown-Eiring credited his hot streak to a calm mindset and an aggressive approach at the dish.

“It’s just a little shift in my approach,” Brown-Eiring said. “Basically, I’m trying to simplify things, not get ahead of myself and attack earlier in the count.”

In the bottom of the eighth inning, third baseman Joe DeLanzo hit a routine fly ball to left fielder Nick Forney that should have ended the inning, but he dropped it. Miceli came around and scored from second base.

While trying to secure the complete game shutout, a throwing error by first baseman Brett Paulsen — who played third base on Tuesday — opened the door for the Gaels to plate a pair of unearned runs. Rhein struck out the ensuing batter, but his bid for a complete game ended when he was pulled in favor of relief pitcher Ty Panariello, who got the final two outs to finish it.

At the plate, Brown-Eiring was Stony Brook’s best performer. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run batted in (RBI) and a run scored. Erik Paulsen went 1-for-3 with two RBIs, a run and a walk. Carson went 1-for-4 while driving in two runs and scoring one. Miceli went 2-for-3 with a steal, a walk and two runs.

Pilla went 1-for-4 with an RBI double. Catcher Nick Solorzano went 1-for-3 with a double, a hit-by-pitch and a run scored. Center fielder Cam Santerre went 1-for-3 with a stolen base, a hit-by-pitch and a run. Wright went 1-for-3 with a run.

After scoring 12 runs on 13 hits on Sunday, Senk is encouraged by his team’s recent offensive surge and hopes it can keep the momentum rolling.

“[We got] some timely hitting and some good swings,” Senk said. “It’s good to see where we’re at right now and I’m looking forward to it continuing tomorrow against Fordham.”

Stony Brook will have a quick turnaround, as it will be back at Nathan tomorrow to take on the Fordham Rams for another nonconference game. Fordham is 8-15 this season after losing two out of three to St. John’s over the weekend. First pitch is set for 2 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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