ORONO, Maine — Stony Brook University baseball coach Matt Senk knew the University of Maine scored 11 first-inning runs while sweeping Albany last weekend.
The Seawolves turned the tables on the Black Bears Sunday, jumping out to a 3-0 first-inning lead en route to a 5-2 victory in the rubber game of the three-game set at Mahaney Diamond.
The teams split a doubleheader on Saturday with Stony Brook rallying to take the opener 4-1 before UMaine came from behind to win the nightcap 4-2.
Stony Brook is now 17-12 overall and 6-3 in America East while UMaine is 9-21 and 5-4, respectively.
“We had to keep that from happening to us. Any time you do what they did to Albany last weekend, you get a good result and that was the case for us today,” said Senk.
“Any time you fall behind like that in 30-degree weather, it’s hard to come back,” said UMaine senior designated hitter Jonathan Bennett, who had one of just four hits on the day for the Black Bears.
“They carried the momentum throughout the game,” said UMaine senior center fielder Brandon Vicens.
Stony Brook sophomore right-hander Greg Marino, who entered the game with a lofty 7.27 earned-run average, hurled six impressive innings of three-hit, two-run ball to earn his second win in three decisions.
He struck out six and walked two and retired 13 Black Bears in a row during one stretch.
“Against an aggressive hitting team like Maine, I needed to make sure I got strike one (on the first pitch). Pounding the strike zone was important. And both of my offspeed pitches, my change-up and my knuckle curve, worked well,” said Marino who threw 15 first-pitch strikes to the 22 hitters he faced. “Thankfully, the defense behind me was great as always.”
He also said getting the early lead was “huge. It was a big confidence booster.”
“He had good command of his fastball. He put it where he wanted to and he kept us off-balance,” said Bennett.
The Seawolves wasted little time roughing up UMaine junior right-hander Nick Silva, who had allowed just two runs and nine hits spanning 13 ⅔ innings over his previous two starts.
Nick Grande and John Tuccillo both bounced singles through the shortstop hole and Michael Wilson turned on an inside fastball and lined a run-scoring single to right.
Tuccillo raced to third on the single and Wilson moved to second on the throw to third.
Bobby Honeyman’s sacrifice fly delivered Tuccillo and Wilson eventually scored on Chris Hamilton’s two-out infield hit to first.
UMaine got one back in the bottom of the first on Chris Bec’s two-out double to left center and Hernen Sardinas’ hooking line drive single to right.
But the Seawolves answered with a run in the second when Grande grounded a single to left, stole second, alertly scampered to third on catcher Bec’s throw to first on a swinging third strike in the dirt and scored on Wilson’s infield bouncer on which an error was made.
Honeyman had a single later in the inning which made him 8-for-8 with a walk and a sacrifice fly in the series.
“I’ve never done anything like that, not even close,” grinned senior third baseman Honeyman.
Connor Johnson came on to start the third inning for UMaine and was nicked for an unearned run in the fourth with Tuccillo’s opposite-field line drive single plating it.
The Black Bears had a glorious chance to significantly erode the 5-1 deficit in the seventh when they loaded the bases with nobody out on three walks, including two by reliever Teddy Rodliff on eight pitches. But they only scored once.
Rodliff got Kevin Doody to fly to shallow left on a 3-2 pitch, induced Colin Ridley to bounce into a run-producing 3-6 fielder’s choice and got Cody Pasic to ground to short.
Aaron Pinto picked up his league-leading eighth save with two innings of one-hit relief.
Cody Laweryson tossed five innings of one-hit shutout relief for UMaine, retiring the first 14 hitters he faced.
“We didn’t swing the bats today. They made adjustments and we didn’t. They fed us fastballs away and we couldn’t stay on it,” said UMaine head coach Nick Derba.
Grande had four hits for Stony Brook and Tuccillo, Wilson and Alamo had two each. Honeyman went 1-for-3.
On Saturday, John Arel and Laweryson combined on a seven-hitter and Ridley drove in a pair of runs with a double and a single to earn the Black Bears a split in the seven-inning nightcap.
In the opener, a nine-inning affair, sophomore right-hander Brian Herrmann tossed his second career complete game, a six-hit gem, and Honeyman went 4-for-4 as the Seawolves triumphed.
In the second game, senior righty Arel threw six innings of five-hit two-run ball with five strikeouts and two walks before sophomore Laweryson pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out two and allowing two hits.
Stony Brook took a 2-1 lead with a pair of runs in the top of the second on Cristian Montes’ sacrifice fly and Brandon Janofsky’s RBI single but the Black Bears responded with two in the bottom of the second on run-scoring doubles by Ridley and Cody Pasic to take a lead they would never relinquish.
UMaine added an insurance run in the fourth on Doody’s one-out double and Ridley’s RBI single.
Ridley was UMaine’s only repeat hitter with his double and single while Honeyman went 3-for-3 for Stony Brook. Jeremy Pena tripled and scored for UMaine.
In the opener, Herrmann struck out five and walked just one in his route-going performance.
Bennett’s RBI single staked UMaine to a 1-0 lead in the fourth but the Seawolves rallied for two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to collect the victory.
In the seventh. Tuccillo doubled and scored on Honeyman’s double before Matt Geoffrion came on to replace Eddie Emerson, who started in place in the ailing Zach Winn.
Geoffrion uncorked a wild pitch and surrendered a run-scoring single to Hamilton.
In the eighth, a walk, a Grande single and an error by left fielder Ridley produced the first run before Tuccillo singled home the second run.
Tuccillo had two hits to complement Honeyman’s four while Danny Casals had two singles for UMaine.
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