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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook baseball pulls off sweep of Hartford Hawks as Senk picks up 600th win

Coach Matt Senk has more wins than any previous Stony Brook baseball coach. Ezra Margono/The Statesman

The Stony Brook University baseball team won all four games in a weekend series against the Hartford Hawks, dismantling its conference opponent by a combined score of 26-9. The last of these victories came with an added bonus, the 600th victory in the extensive career of coach Matt Senk.

“It feels amazing,” Senk said. “It’s great to get to that milestone; what makes it even better is that we’re reaching this team’s goals.”

Senk is the all-time wins leader at Stony Brook; his winning percentage for his career is .579 (600-386) after 22 seasons, the 22nd of which is not yet over. He has led his team to 30 or more victories nine times and has won three America East tournament titles with Stony Brook. His squad won a school-record 42 wins last season.

“That’s a heck of a lot of winning,” Senk said. “This team has as good a chance as any of the most successful teams to reach their goals.”

The team is now 29-10 on the season and 9-2 in conference play, which is second only to the University of Maine in the America East.

It was a dominating series for Stony Brook, which has won 15 of its last 17 games. The team held Hartford scoreless for 26 consecutive innings.

“We’ve been talking about our offensive approach,” Senk said. “The one thing that you look for is limiting your strikeouts. We’re in a good place offensively when you don’t strike out. We’ve been doing a good job of that over the last couple of weeks.”

The first game of the series was the closest, a 7-5 win for Stony Brook. It was a game that the Seawolves looked as though they were going to take easily, but the Hawks made the contest closer than fans present would’ve liked.

The Seawolves took the lead early and never relinquished it. They scored three runs in the first inning. Senior catcher Pat Cantwell brought in one run with a sacrifice fly; junior infielder William Carmona brought in another when he hit a triple; the last run scored when freshman outfielder Kevin Krause hit a single.

Stony Brook added on another run in the bottom of the second inning when junior outfielder Travis Jankowski hit a an RBI triple. The two teams exchanged a pair of runs in the third inning, and the Seawolves further bolstered their lead when they tacked on another run in the fourth.

Hartford refused to be put away, however, and scored three runs against Stony Brook’s starter, senior pitcher Tyler Johnson (5-1), who came out with the win anyway. The deficit was cut to 7-5.

Johnson came out of the game with one out in the sixth inning, handing the ball over to sophomore pitcher Frankie Vanderka (1-2), who did not allow a run for the rest of the game and picked up his third save of the season.

The Seawolves also took the lead early in game two, scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning when Carmona hit an RBI single. They added another two runs in the second inning; Jankowski brought in the first with a single and freshman infielder Cole Peragine scored the second. They would total six runs for the game.

On the mound, sophomore pitcher Brandon McNitt (5-1)  struck out six and allowed only five hits and one walk. The only troublesome situation that he ran into came in the second inning when the Hawks loaded the bases with no one out. McNitt got the next three batters out to get himself out of danger.

The following day brought even greater success for the Seawolves as they captured the two victories necessary to secure their coach’s milestone win. The first win of the game belonged to senior pitcher Evan Stecko-Haley (4-3), who accumulated a career-high 10 strikeouts and allowed one walk.

Stony Brook once again grabbed an early lead. Its first run came in the second inning followed by a two-run scoring single from junior infielder Maxx Tissenbaum. The final run of the game came in the sixth inning as a result of an RBI triple from Jankowski. Hartford had one hit in the last inning but was unable to make any offensive headway against Stecko-Haley.

True to form, Stony Brook got on the board quickly in the final game of the series. Everything went its way in the first inning, in which the Seawolves scored four runs. Carmona was the force behind two of those runs with his two-run triple. Cantwell helped bring in the fifth run of the game in the second inning when he hit an RBI single.

The score remained 5-0 until the seventh inning when Stony Brook put another four runs on the board, putting the game out of reach. Hartford was not completely silent against junior pitcher James Campbell (3-0), off of whom they scored four runs. But it would be Campbell who had the last laugh as he walked away with the victory.

Stony Brook will next play Central Connecticut State University at home on Tuesday. It will be its last home game for some time. Out of 15 remaining regular season games, 12 will be away from Stony Brook.

“We’re well aware of it,” Senk said. “We’re making the most of being at home; I think we’ve done a good job of that.”

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