Spring was in the air on Jan. 18 as the Stony Brook baseball team’s pitchers and catchers held their first official workout in preparation for the regular season.
And with temperatures in the mid-40s, the Seawolves were able to hold their workout outdoors at Joe Nathan Field rather than at one of the program’s indoor facilities.
Position players are due to begin formal practices Feb. 1.
It’s been 313 days since the Seawolves’ last game — a 4-2 victory against Merrimack last March 11. Stony Brook had been slated to begin America East play three days later with a doubleheader against Hartford.
“We felt like we were peaking at the right time heading into conference play,” coach Matt Senk said. “So we’re excited. We were the defending champs. So we’re looking forward to defending our championship and can’t wait to get started.”
Stony Brook did get in a relatively normal workout schedule this past fall, albeit without games against other teams.
And with the bulk of the seniors having returned for the 2020-21 academic year after gaining an extra year of eligibility — coupled with a new freshman class that was touted by Collegiate Baseball as among the best in the nation — the Seawolves figure to again make noise in 2021.
Stony Brook produced a .673 winning percentage in America East play during the decade of the 2010s (159-77-1).
In game-situation matchups in the fall, upperclassmen Brian Morrisey, Brian Herrmann, Jared Milch, Adam Erickson and Sam Turcotte combined to produce a 2.65 ERA with 52 strikeouts, 12 walks and a .198 opponent batting average in 51 innings.
Herrmann returns as a redshirt senior this season after missing last spring due to injury, while Morrisey and Milch are seniors and Erickson and Turcotte now are graduate students.
“Certainly what we bring back on the mound, I think, is going to be impactful,” Senk said. “… Those guys were strike-throwers, pounding the zone, and were really displaying some plus stuff — fastballs, breaking balls — and really challenging our hitters. All those things will lead to success for the team in the future.”