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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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    Senk: Seawolves Ready for Conference Play

    The Stony Brook Seawolves completed a four-game sweep of NYIT on Sunday to bring their record to 10-10, all in non-conference play. Senior Tom Koehler and sophomore Michael Stephan were the America East pitcher and player of the week, respectively. Koehler had a masterful outing in the first game against NYIT, pitching a complete game with 11 strikeouts. Koehler has been named the America East pitcher of the week two weeks in a row and three out of the four weeks of the season. Stephan batted .427 last week with a .667 on base percentage including a game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth inning on Saturday and the eventual game-winning two-run double on Sunday.

    The .500 record to start the season doesn’t worry the Seawolves because those games were a tune-up for the all-important conference games that begin on Friday against Binghamton at home. Earlier in the season Coach Senk said, “I break our season up into three seasons. Non-conference, is the month of March, we want to post as many wins as possible in the 20 plus games we play. That’s to get us ready for the 24 conference games. The last season is the America East tournament.”

    Senk is pleased with his team’s performance thus far. They went through a rough string of games during spring break but he said that it was only in terms of wins and losses. “Record-wise it was a rough patch, but it was not indicative of our play or the level of competition,” he said. “Charlotte is one of the best offensive teams in the country, Virginia is 14th in the country and we were six outs away from the second biggest win in school history, besides our championship.”

    Stony Brook also beat James Madison when they were in the midst of a ten-game winning streak and traded dramatic victories with Longwood when it won a game on a 12th inning home run and Longwood won the next day with a game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.

    Senk is happy to head into conference play with momentum on the heels of the sweep of NYIT. “Anytime you sweep a team, it’s because of great effort and consistency,” he said. But it isn’t all good news for the Seawolves. Junior catcher Justin Echevarria, who has had bouts with tendonitis in the past, is battling a shoulder problem that might need surgery. Senk said that he went in for an MRI and that they don’t know the extent of the problem yet. “If Justin has his way he’ll play through it, but we won’t do anything that is a detriment to him.”

    Asked about the surprises during this “first season”, Senk said that there have not been any. Besides the senior duo of Koehler and Gary Novakowski who deservedly get a lot of the attention, Senk singled out two players who have performed well. “Mike Stephan has been outstanding playing first base and DH. And Brian Witkowski has played very well, he was the conference player of the week two weeks ago.” The coach added that the team as a whole has been solid defensively.

    Senk is confident in his players at this important part of the season. “We talked about this yesterday, we’re in a good place heading into conference play. We found out a lot about ourselves. We have a lot of options and can give teams a hard time.”

    Stony Brook will take on Binghamton during a four-game series at Stony Brook this weekend. Binghamton is 7-15 in out of conference play. In terms of common opponents both Stony Brook and Binghamton played James Madison, with the Seawolves winning 16-3 and Binghamton winning 4-0, but losing 8-7 and 3-1. Both teams played Longwood and lost two out of three games. The first game against Binghamton is Friday at 3:00 PM, with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1:00 PN=M and a game on Sunday at 1:00 PM.

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