Erik Paulsen of Stony Brook.

Erik Paulsen of Stony Brook. Credit: Paulsen family

Long Island has produced a handful of pure hitters over the past 20 years at the collegiate level. The area also has become fertile ground for elite pitchers.

But finding two-way impact players at the college level is a rarity. Erik Paulsen of Massapequa may be the finest we’ve seen in a long time.

The Stony Brook University freshman pitcher/first baseman is having an immediate impact for the Seawolves. He has already earned CAA Rookie of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks.

“Erik has been outstanding in every regard,” Stony Brook coach Matt Senk said. “He would be the most impactful freshman we’ve ever had at the school. His baseball maturity is well beyond that of any freshman. He’s come in here and performed very well.”

Senk said Paulsen is evoking memories of Stony Brook alum Joe Nathan, who played shortstop and pitched during his four years. Nathan, who was drafted in the sixth round with the overall 159th pick by San Francisco in 1995, went on to a successful major league career with 377 saves for the Giants.

“Joe was as good as it gets but his impact as a two-way star here at Stony Brook came later in his career, perhaps, during his junior year,” Senk said. “Paulsen is having an impact as a freshman – he’s fantastic.”

Paulsen is hitting .386 through 16 games with three doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs in the Seawolves' 8-8 start. Most notably he has only struck out twice in 44 total at bats.

Erik Paulsen of Stony Brook hits against LSU.

Erik Paulsen of Stony Brook hits against LSU. Credit: Paulsen family

“His plate discipline, patience, and a good feel for the strike zone has made him a tough out,” Senk said. “He’s consistently on the barrel and fouls off tough pitches to stay in an at bat. He has that unique ability to square balls up.”

Paulsen, Newsday’s High School Player of the Year in 2023, has also fared well in pressure situations on the mound. The hard throwing lefty is 2-0 with two saves and a 2.35 ERA in six appearances. His latest outing was a brilliant three-inning save in a 1-0 win over Seton Hall on Friday.

“He just embraces the opportunity he’s being given and doesn’t back away from any situation he’s presented,” Senk said. “He’s a big-time player.”

Diamond Notes

Senior Cameron Leary of Boston College (Bethpage, St. Anthony’s HS) is off to another hot start. The Eagles outfielder has smashed five home runs with 17 RBIs and is hitting .327. His OPS is a team-leading 1.224 for the Eagles, who are 9-7. The 6-1, 205-pounder has 33 career home runs.

Sophomore Cody Miller of Eastern Tennessee State University (Rocky Point) had a walk-off RBI single in ETSU's 12-11 win over Villanova. Miller finished with three hits and four RBIs in the win. Miller is currently batting .389 for ETSU which is 13-4.

Freshman righty Jason DeCaro of North Carolina (Northport, St. Anthony’s HS) had a terrific outing against Pittsburgh but ended up with a no decision this week. The 6-5, 225-pounder threw 6 1/3 innings of two-run, three-hit ball and left with the score tied 2-2. The Tar Heels scored five times in the bottom of the sixth for a 7-4 win over Pittsburgh and improved to 16-3. DeCaro had six strikeouts and no walks in the outing. He is 1-0 over four appearances with a team-leading 3.66 ERA.

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