Mike Augliera (left) and Pat Cantwell led their respective teams to wins on day one of the America East Baseball Championship.
Bearcats & Seawolves Move To Winners' Bracket
STONY BROOK, N.Y. -- Top-seeded Stony Brook and third-seeded Binghamton were both victorious on day one of the 2012 America East Baseball Championship at the Seawolves' Joe Nathan Field.
The Seawolves (44-11) and the Bearcats (22-25) will meet in a winner's bracket game Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. The second-seeded Great Danes (22-31-1) and Black Bears (26-27) both face elimination when they meet in tomorrow's first game at 11 a.m.
Binghamton upended Albany 2-1 in Wednesday's first game behind a strong effort from its starting pitcher. Senior right hander Mike Augliera, a first-team all-conference pick, threw a nine-inning complete game one-hitter. Shortstop John Howell finished the day 4-for-4, while freshmen Brian Ruby and Zach Blanden each drove in a run.
Later in the day, the Seawolves flexed their offensive muscles with a 14-6 win over the defending conference champion and fourth-seeded Maine Black Bears. All but one of the starters in the lineup registered a hit as Stony Brook knocked out 18 hits as a team.
Binghamton got on the board first in the second inning after DH Jake Thomas and catcher Michael Danaher both drew walks to lead off the top half of the frame. First baseman Jordon Smucker put down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position, and then Blanden scored Thomas from third with a fielder's choice groundout to shortstop. Albany starter Zach Kraham avoided any more damage by inducing leadoff hitter Bill Bereszniewicz into a groundout to first base.
Meanwhile, Augliera rolled with 1-2-3 innings in the home half of the second, third, fourth and fifth. He struck out the last two outs in the second inning and then struck out the side in the third, finishing with seven strikeouts total for the game.
The only hit Augliera allowed all day came off the bat of another first-team selection, Albany outfielder Nolan Gaige who drove in the Great Danes' only run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Jeff Welsh led off the inning with a walk, moved over on two fielder's choices and then scored the Danes' lone run on Gaige's liner to left field to tie the game.
It didn't take the Bearcats' long to retake te lead as Ruby singled in the winning run in the top of the seventh. Bereszniewicz singled to right field to start the frame and moved to second on a Howell groundout to Kraham. Kraham got the second out of the inning when he forced Dave Ciocchi to pop a flyout foul down the third base line, but Ruby followed with his RBI single to right field.
Augliera finished out the last three innings with three straight 1-2-3 frames. His counterpart Kraham went 7.0 innings with six strikeouts, six hits against and two earned runs.
Player of the Year Travis Jankowski had a 4-for-5 performance for the Seawolves with two runs scored and an RBI. Freshman DH Kevin Krause went 4-for-5 out of the number nine slot in the lineup, and catcher Pat Cantwell and first baseman Kevin Courtney each drove in three runs.
Stony Brook jumped on top of Maine starter Shaun Coughlin quickly, scoring twice in the first inning. The Regular Season Champions scored four more times in the second inning to take a 6-0 advantage early and chase Coughlin from the game.
Maine head coach Steve Trimper handed the ball to Jeffrey Gibbs, who ended up going 4.2 innings in relief. Gibbs held Stony Brook to one run in the third inning to make it a 7-0 game.
The Black Bears made some noise in the top of the fourth by putting four runs up on the scoreboard. Fransoso started the rally with a single to left field, followed by a Tyler Patzalek walk two batters later. Freshman Scott Heath flied to center, but that advanced Fransoso from second to third, from where he scored after Ian Leisenheimer reached base on a Stony Brook throwing error. Fran Whitten followed that up with a three-run long shot over the right field fence.
The Black Bears seemed to be building some momentum after coming back to within three runs and then holding the Seawolves scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings.
However, the Seawolves created some breathing room by extending their lead to 11-4 with four runs in the sixth inning. Maxx Tissenbaum singled to left center and then Tanner Nivins drew a walk. Gibbs loaded the bases by intentionally walking Rookie of the Year Cole Peragine. Gibbs threw one of his three wild pitches to allow Tissenbaum to score from third. Courtney, Krause and Jankowski each drove in runs before the inning ended with a Cantwell lineout to second base.
Maine tacked on another run in the seventh, but Stony Brook responded half an inning later with three more runs despite leaving the bases loaded. After letting us three straight hard-hit singles, Gibbs sat in favor of Steve Trask who finished the final 1.2 innings for the Black Bears. Trask got out of the seventh inning and pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
Pitcher of the Year Tyler Johnson earned his league-leading ninth win of the season to move to 9-1. He went 7.2 innings before being relieved by freshman Matt Gallup in the eighth. Johnson surrendered one earned run, seven hits, three walks and struck out two.
The Championship continues Thursday and Friday, with Saturday serving as an if necessary date. Follow the action at Championship Central for news, stats and highlights throughout the tournament.
2012 America East Baseball Championship