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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Baseball Wins Two of Three

    Freshman year is widely considered a time of transition, a time for one to find themselves and decide how they fit into a large and vibrant community that they are not used to. The demands of university life extend beyond the classroom and difficulty with this transition are not only understandable but expected. Now imagine having the added responsibility of playing three positions for a college baseball team while being slotted third or fourth in the batting order and being expected to succeed. Sound a little daunting? Tell that to Nick Thode. He’s making it look easy.

    Freshman first baseman Thode was named America East baseball rookie of the week after he hit .333 with three RBI in the Seawolves three-game set against Southeastern Louisiana over the weekend. The Stony Brook baseball team had a strong performance winning another series to bring their record to 4-2. Thode is now batting .308 on the young season with one home run and six RBI’s.

    Their sole loss was a heartbreaker that came in the last at bat but it was a productive weekend nonetheless in the eyes of their coach.”Our effort throughout the weekend was tremendous despite the very disappointing loss,” Senk said. “We played at a consistently hard level the entire time.”

    In the first game of a double-header on Saturday the Seawolves defeated the Lions 7-5 behind another strong outing from Tom Koehler who improved to 2-0 while allowing four hits and four runs in seven and one-third innings. He also had seven strikeouts. Senk said that the key to Koehler’s success has been his control, and not just in the baseball sense. “There’s no secret with Tom, he has an above average fastball and breaking ball but he’s done a much better job of controlling his emotion than in years past. With him it’s all about location. If he locates he’ll pitch well.”

    The Seawolves were trailing 2-1 in the sixth inning but had two men on base when Thode came to the plate. He laced a double to centerfield to give Stony Brook a 3-2 lead. Early in the season Thode has had his share of big hits. He attributes his success to an old faithful. “I practice everyday and do extra hitting with my dad every chance I get, at a batting cage in Hauppauge ,”Thode said.

    Thode’s success may seem unlikely but it isn’t to the man who helped bring him here. ” It’s not surprising what he’s doing as a freshman. We saw this when we recruited him,” Senk said. “He’s a tremendous hitter with great power and he’s physically mature beyond a freshman, he has the strength of a 25 or 26 year-old man.”

    The second game was a pitcher’s duel between senior Gary Novakowski and Lions pitcher Josh Black as they put up zeroes through the first seven innings. The Lions scored first in the bottom of the eighth but the Seawolves answered in the top of the ninth when Thode hit a sacrifice fly to score freshman Chad Marshall. An infield single and a sacrifice bunt then set the stage as the Lions hit a game-winning single. Though he would have liked to win, Senk was proud of his team. “I told them that their effort was tremendous and that there was nothing to be disappointed about.

    He even took some of the blame upon himself . Senk said, “In hindsight, I was disappointed in myself, maybe we should have given them a different look the fourth time through the batting order.”

    The last game of the series was a shot at redemption for pitcher Mike Errigo who was coming off a start where he got roughed up to the tune of seven runs and eight hits in two and two-thirds innings. In that start Senk said that Errigo lost his breaking stuff but the opposite was true this time around. “The difference was that he had a feel for his breaking ball,” Senk said. Lions hitters were helpless even though they knew what was coming. “One time during the game their first base coach tried to get them to lay off slider. It was breaking real late and deep,” Senk said. Errigo’s line was much different this time around as he pitched six and one-third innings of one run ball while adding ten strikeouts as the Seawolves won 5-3. Added Thode, “I think we’ve been searching for a third starter and he earned that spot this weekend.”

    This weekend the Seawolves travel to Charlotte for a four-game series and a double-dip of double-headers on Saturday and Sunday. Coach Senk is hopeful for continued success but admits that the upcoming teams on the schedule present tough challenges. “We’re playing terrific teams, Charlotte is 11-1, they went to NCAA tournament last year. Then we turnaround and play Virginia who is in the top 20. They are going to be tough games but we firmly believe if we play well we can win those games as long as we don’t beat ourselves.”

    Early on it’s been Stony Brook’s opponents who have had their hands full trying to accomplish just that.

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