ORONO, Maine — Stony Brook University demonstrated Friday afternoon why it is the team to beat in America East this season.
Tyler Johnson pitched five shutout innings in the Seawolves’ 5-1 opening-game victory, then Jasvir Rakkar worked four scoreless innings in relief during a 5-4 Game 2 victory as Stony Brook swept a doubleheader from the University of Maine at Mahaney Diamond.
Stony Brook (41-11, 19-3 AE), which secured its second straight 40-win season, had already claimed the league regular-season title and the right to host next week’s conference tournament.
UMaine (26-24, 11-9 AE) has slipped at least temporarily into fourth place in the standings and could face the Seawolves in a first-round game next Wednesday.
“(Sunday) we’ve got to come back and we’ve got to play well,” said UMaine coach Steve Trimper.
“We’ve got to go out and execute the whole game, all the way through, not walk guys, and play clean defense,” he added.
In the nightcap, the Black Bears twice failed to hold a two-run lead and committed a couple of costly errors in the pivotal eighth inning.
UMaine led 4-3 when the Seawolves mounted the winning rally in the eighth against reliever Jonathan Balentina (3-1). Pat Cantwell worked a one-out walk, then was caught off first but took second when first baseman Scott Heath of Westbrook threw high to second.
Willi Carmona pounded an RBI double to center field, Max Tissenbaum grounded a single to left and the second run scored on Tanner Nivins’ grounder to first base that resulted in another throwing error by Heath.
“We gave it away. We’ve got to make the plays in the field,” Trimper said. I think the kids played pretty well. It was a hard-fought ballgame, two good teams playing and getting ready for the tournament.”
The Bears threatened in the eighth against Rakkar (5-2). Alex Calbick hit a two-out, pop-fly double down the left-field line and Ian Leisenheimer was hit by a pitch, but Rakkar got Fran Whitten to ground out to end the inning.
Tissenbaum singled three times for Stony Brook, while Travis Jankowski hit a solo home run in the fifth inning and singled. Cole Peragine tripled and singled and Steven Goldstein belted a solo homer in the seventh that got the visitors within a run at 4-3.
Alex Calbick added two singles and Heath stroked a solo home run in the second and singled among eight hits for UMaine.
“We swung the bat a little better in the second game. We just couldn’t find the holes with runners in scoring position,” Calbick said.
Stony Brook scored in the top of the first. Jankowski fought off several pitches during a 12-pitch at-bat that ended with his ground-ball single through the right side. He took second on a balk, then took third with a steal after being caught off second.
Carmona plated the run with a groundout to shortstop.
The Bears equalized in the second inning. Heath took two called strikes before he launched a Brandon McNitt pitch over the right-field fence.
UMaine took a 3-1 lead in the fourth after Calbick drew a one-out walk and Leisenheimer pulled a double inside the third-base bag. The first run scored on a passed ball, then Whitten’s chopper to shortstop brought in Leisenheimer.
The hosts added a run in the sixth, chasing McNitt. Scott and Calbick hit back-to-back singles and Leisenheimer sacrificed the runners over, setting up Whitten’s run-scoring groundout to first base that nearly turned into a double play, but the catcher dropped the throw to the plate when Heath slid in.
The Bears are trying to educate themselves about the Seawolves, who they expect to face next week.
“We’re playing hard, like we always do,” Leisenheimer said. “We’re going to have to face them at some point in the tournament, whether it’s the first game or the second game. We know they’re a good ballclub and so are we.”
In the first game, Johnson (8-1) limited the Bears to three hits in an efficient performance, then gave way to Frankie Vanderka, who worked the last two innings of the seven-inning contest to earn a save.
UMaine received a solid outing from starter Steve Perakslis (4-5), who allowed eight hits but only one run in 4⅔ innings. Reliever Jeff Gibbs surrendered four runs, two earned, on four hits and three walks.
Stony Brook had baserunners in every inning except the second and kept the pressure on UMaine pitchers. Each of the Seawolves had at least one hit, paced by a double, a single and two RBIs from Peragine and two singles each from Jankowski and Tissenbaum.
Leading 2-0, the visitors broke the game open in the seventh against Gibbs. Carmona walked, Tissenbaum reached on a fielder’s choice and both scored when Nivins lashed a triple to center field.
One out later, Peragine stroked an RBI double to right-center to make it 5-0.
UMaine scratched out a run in the seventh when Colin Gay beat out an infield single, Heath walked, and both advanced on a wild pitch by Vanderka. Calbick delivered the run with a sacrifice fly to left.
“We’ve just got to do a better job getting better barrels on the ball,” Calbick said. “We grounded out ample amount of times against Johnson. They’re a good team. we’ve just got to come out and play better.”
The Seawolves took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Jankowski singled, moved up on Cantwell’s sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on a Carmona groundout.
SBU didn’t score again until the sixth. Nivins walked, went to second on Goldstein’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Peragine’s single to center.
The Seawolves stranded 10 baserunners in the contest.