Stony Brook beats Maine in first round
GalleriesStony Brook 14, Maine 6
Stony Brook 14, Maine 6. A bountiful beginning for the home team in the first round of the America East baseball championship Wednesday at Joe Nathan Field.
The double-elimination series continues Thursday with Stony Brook (44-11) facing Binghamton (23-24) in the winners' bracket at 3 p.m. Maine (26-27) plays Albany (22-31) in an elimination game at 11 a.m.
The conference champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"Getting the first one and getting the winners' bracket is crucial,'' centerfielder Travis Jankowski said. "We scored early and we scored often. We kind of took care of business [Wednesday].''
Jankowski and designated hitter Kevin Krause each had four hits as the Seawolves pounded out 18. Jankowski singled in the first and scored on Maxx Tissenbaum's two-run double. Tissenbaum had three hits.
Jankwoski's second base hit came in a four-run second that was highlighted by Pat Cantwell's two-run triple. Another run in the third gave starter Tyler Johnson a 7-0 lead.
"Huge,'' Johnson said.
An error in the fourth enabled the Black Bears to score their first run, then Johnson, who entered the game having not allowed a home run in 681/3 innings this season, gave up a three-run shot to designated hitter Fran Whitten. "Maine seems to get me on that," Johnson said. "They did the same thing last year,'' in a postseason loss.
This was not nearly as damaging. "Anytime you give up a home run or any runs it bothers you,'' said Johnson, who allowed one earned run in 7 2/3 innings. "As a pitcher you are taught, especially when you have a big lead, to throw it in there, throw strikes and let them hit it. We still had a three-run lead. I had to keep pitching, give us a chance to win and that's what I went out and did.''
Stony Brook scored four more runs in the sixth -- Krause and Jankowski delivered run-scoring hits -- and three more in the seventh on a two-run single by Kevin Courtney (three hits) and an RBI hit by Cole Peragine.
Coach Matt Senk addressed the team on Tuesday and, for the last time, reminded the Seawolves that a loss to Maine last season had put them into the losers' bracket, where they were eliminated by Albany. "I told them 'Just go out [and play.]' That's exactly what they did.''