Release: May 23, 2008
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. Junior Jeff Dennis (North Syracuse, N.Y.) fired a complete- game two-hitter but second-seeded Stony Brook (33-24) scratched out a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat top-seeded Binghamton (28-26) 1-0 in an America East tournament game Friday night from Farmingdale State College. The loss drops the Bearcats into the loser's bracket, where they will face Vermont in an elimination game at 3:05 p.m. on Saturday. Binghamton will have to win three straight games to capture the program's first NCAA bid.
In a game eerily similar to BU's 1-0 loss to Albany on the very same Farmingdale field at the 2007 championship (which Dennis also pitched), the 6-foot-6 lefty was exceptional, allowing just a bloop double in the first inning and a bunt single in the eighth. He faced two batters over the minimum (26) and recorded 15 groundouts, while four Major League Baseball scouts checked their radar guns. He struck out one and didn't walk a batter.
In the bottom of the eighth, however, Stony Brook left fielder Stephen Mazzurco led off with a bunt single to the left side and on a stolen base attempt, advanced to third when the throw was wide of second. After a groundout, Mazzurco scampered home on a Dennis wild pitch.
Seawolves' starter Gary Novakowski, the 2007 America East Pitcher of the Year, pitched eight scoreless innings with nine strikeouts, and closer Jordan Purington pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
The Bearcats had a golden opportunity to score in the top of the eighth, when freshman Corey Taylor (Vestal, N.Y.) laced a one-out triple and freshman Peter Bregartner (East Islip, N.Y.) walked. But Taylor was thrown out at the plate on a grounder to third and after a wild pitch moved runners to second and third, a strikeout ended the inning.
Binghamton put runners on base on the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings but couldn't deliver the clutch hit, and the Bearcats were shut out for just the second time in 54 games this season (Kansas State beat BU 5-0 on March 22).
Dennis (4-5) lowered his season earned run average to 3.97. In his last four starts, he has surrendered just two earned runs in 27 innings (0.67 ERA).
If BU should eliminate Vermont Saturday afternoon, it would face Stony Brook at 7 p.m.. If the Bearcats were to defeat the Seawolves, the teams would play again Sunday at noon for the outright championship.
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