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Baseball Tames Mustangs on Opening Day

March 26, 2021

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 ended on Tuesday as the Bears opened the 2021 season with a 9-3 victory over Mt. Sinai.

After Tyler Smith worked around a 1-out single in the top of the first, the Bears got on the board first when Tucker Genovesi worked a lead off 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 second 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 third, Jojo Franco replaced Smith on the mound and struck out the side 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 fourth, 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 outfield fence with a 2-run home run to left-center for an 8-0 lead. Franco worked his third shutout inning in the top of the fifth 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 fifth, 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 seventh to nail down the win.

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