When the Bears fell to top-seeded Poly Prep in the quarterfinals of the 2019 NYSAIS State Tournament, no one could have predicted it would be the last Stony Brook baseball game for the next 675 days. But that long, painful hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic ended on Tuesday as the Bears opened the 2021 season with a 9-3 victory over Mt. Sinai.
After Tyler Smith worked around a one-out single in the top of the 1st, the Bears got on the board first when Tucker Genovesi worked a leadoff walk, Justin Porrino followed with a double down the right field line, and a wild pitch sent Genovesi home. Tyler Smith followed with a single to plate Porrino and, two batters later, an Aaron Babaev double pushed the lead to 3-0.
Smith froze the first two batters of the 2nd inning with strikeouts, but walked the next two Mustangs before ending the threat with his fourth strikeout of the game. The Bears added a fourth run in the bottom half when Stephen Cisz reached on an error before coming all the way around on a Lee-Anthony Santiago double. In the top of the 3rd, Jojo Franco replaced Smith on the mound and struck the side out looking for a dominant inning of work. In the bottom half, Smith walked and Franco singled before a Babaev single to right pushed Smith across for a 5-0 lead. Franco came in on a throwing error on the same play to make it 6-0.
In the top of the 4th, Franco continued his impressive outing, during which he lit up 86 mph on the radar gun, with a 1-3 comebacker, another strikeout looking, and fly out to right. In the bottom half, Tim Wozny put the game out of reach by christening the new permanent outfield fence with a two-run home run to left-center for an 8-0 lead. Franco worked his third shutout inning in the top of the 5th with another K before Santiago made a slick 6-3 play on a groundout for the second out. Franco closed the inning with a 1-3 groundout to put a stamp on a sensational outing against one of the strongest Class A teams in Suffolk County. In the bottom of the 5th, four straight walks to Santiago, Genovesi, Porrino, and Wozny plated the Bears’ ninth and final run. The Mustangs tacked on a few runs late, but Genovesi came on in the 7th to nail down the win.