CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Rich resumes don't intimidate Stony Brook, and daunting deficits don't bother the Seawolves, either.
Now we'll find out how the feisty fourth-seeded Seawolves respond to playing from the losers' bracket.
Stony Brook lost to No. 2 Central Florida, 9-8, Saturday night in the Coral Gables Regional. Stony Brook will play Missouri State (40-21) in an elimination game Sunday at 2 p.m. The winner will play UCF (45-15) at 7 p.m.
To win its first regional ever, Stony Brook will have to win both games Sunday and one Monday night.
Travis Jankowski had two hits, including a three-run homer, and five RBIs to lead Stony Brook (47-12). The Seawolves trailed 5-0 and 9-5 and came back each time and nearly took the lead in the eighth on Willie Carmona's long fly ball to rightfield.
But Carmona didn't get all of it, Stony Brook coach Matt Senk said.
"If he had," Senk said, "the ball would have landed in the parking garage."
Instead, it landed in the glove of rightfielder Alex Friedrich, who made the grab as he crashed into the wall.
In the ninth, with UCF closer Joe Rogers in the game, Tanner Nivins reached on a strikeout / passed ball and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Cole Peragine.
Pinch hitter Sal Intagliata struck out, and Kevin Krause grounded to short on a 3-and-2 count to end the game.
"Wow, what an incredibly intense, hard-fought game," said Senk, whose team beat four-time College World Series champ Miami on Friday. "That was a straight-up fistfight."
Senk said Evan Stecko-Haley will start Sunday's early game.
Saturday night's starter, Brandon McNitt, did not have his best stuff. He entered the weekend with a 2.26 ERA and had allowed only one home run all season.
In this game, though, he allowed a season-high eight runs, including a pair of three-run homers to cap his night after six innings. It was Jeramy Matos' homer to left in the sixth that snapped a 5-5 tie.
The game got off to a rough start for Stony Brook when second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum failed to convert what appeared to be a routine double play. He threw in the dirt to first base and was charged with an error as UCF scored two runs on the play.
UCF padded its lead when Darnell Sweeney hit an 0-and-2 pitch for a three-run homer to right to make it 5-0 in the top of the second.
Stony Brook started its rally in the bottom of the inning as Jankowski hit the first pitch he saw from Ray Hanson for a three-run homer to right. The rally started with two outs, when Krause doubled and Pat Cantwell walked.
The Seawolves tied it in the fourth when Kevin Courtney walked, Cantwell singled and Carmona drove them both home with a double to left-center.
After Matos' homer, UCF added a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Chris Taladay.
Stony Brook rallied again, scoring three runs in the eighth on a two-run double by Jankowski and a run-scoring single by Cantwell.
"I couldn't be prouder of our guys," Senk said. "If there is a team that can come out of the losers' bracket, it could be us, based on the effort of this team."