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Sam Turcotte

Sam Turcotte took a perfect-game bid into the eighth inning in Game 2 on Feb. 26

John LaRocca set the tone and Sam Turcotte put an exclamation point on the first February on-campus baseball games in program history.

Turcotte, 6-foot-3 right-hander from Toronto, took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning of the nightcap as Stony Brook swept a season-opening doubleheader against Sacred Heart, 1-0 and 7-1, at Joe Nathan Field on Friday.

Stony Brook (2-0) limited an opponent to one run over the opening two games of a season for the first time since performing the feat against Florida Atlantic in 2011.

It marked the first-ever February games on campus for Stony Brook and the first home opener since 1996. It ended up being a sunny, mid-40s day amid the snow piles just beyond the playing field.

“It’s unbelievable it’s the last weekend in Feburary and we played in the weather we did today,” coach Matt Senksaid. “It couldn’t have been better.”

LaRocca, a graduate student like Turcotte, had a memorable debut.

LaRocca helped lead New York Tech to a Division II College World Series appearance in 2019. Then, the Division II school disbanded its athletic program and he transferred to Stony Brook.

In his first Division I baseball game in three years, since his first college stop at Monmouth, LaRocca delivered a critical hit in his Seawolves debut.

Benefiting from a shift, the lefty-hitting LaRocca sent a roller down the third-base line for a double that plated Chris Hamilton from first base in the sixth inning for the lone run in Game 1.

Evan Giordano and LaRocca then drove in two runs apiece to support Turcotte in Game 2.

“I’m just happy to be back out here, especially after what happened at my old school,” LaRocca said.

LaRocca could not recall ever previously batting cleanup, which he did in the opener before moving to his customary No. 2 slot for Game 2.

“It’s those extra 15 pounds I put on,” LaRocca joked.

Nick DeGennaro, slated to be the No. 4 starter once America East play begins, earned the win in relief in Game 1. DeGennaro, a junior right-hander from Toms River, N.J., tossed the final 2 2/3 innings in relief of Jared Milch.

Milch had retired the first eight Sacred Heart batters he faced.

DeGennaro stranded the potential tying run in scoring position in the seventh and final inning with a game-ending strikeout of Steven Schoe. He also had stranded a pair of runners in scoring position the previous inning.

In Game 2, Giordano contributed a second-inning solo homer to open the scoring.

Freshman Evan Fox made his collegiate debut as the starter in left field in the nightcap and made a diving catch of a liner in the third to record the inning’s opening out —  a feat since Fox had not played the outfield since he was 12 years old. On his first college swing, a half-inning later, Fox led off by doubling down the left-field line and ultimately scored on a Brett Paulsen’s double in what became a three-run third.

Turcotte departed after 85 pitches, after surrendering a leadoff single in the eighth to Robert Farruggio. Turcotte had retired the game’s first 21 batters.

The last no-hitter in program history remains the third of Frankie Vanderka’s career, in 2014 against UAlbany.

“That was the longest I’ve ever had anything like that — any kind of perfect game, no-hitter, even shutout, honestly,” Turcotte said. “You’ve got to credit everybody. Anytime you put up seven runs on 11 hits, you’re going to win a lot of games.”

Stony Brook and Sacred Heart aim to complete the three-game weekend series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Right-hander Brian Herrmann is slated to start for the Seawolves. He will make his first college appearance since April 13, 2019, after which he underwent Tommy John surgery.