Saturday, June 2, 2012

Stony Brook stuns host Miami, 10-2, in regional opener

By WALTER VILLA. Special to Newsday            
Stony Brook's William Carmona (5) is congratulated after
Photo credit: AP | Stony Brook's William Carmona (5) is congratulated after hitting a three-run home run during the eighth inning. (June 1, 2012)
 
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Stony Brook's task is monumental. All the Seawolves have to do this weekend is win a regional at Miami, knowing that the host Hurricanes have won 18 straight postseason tournaments on their home field.
Miami also had not lost a regional opener at home since it was beaten by The Citadel in 1978. The Hurricanes followed that with 21 straight opening wins at home regionals.
But on Friday night, the fourth-seeded Seawolves (47-11) broke the latter streak -- emphatically.
The Seawolves routed Miami, 10-2, to advance to Saturday's winner's-bracket game against Central Florida (44-15) at 7 p.m. Central Florida beat Missouri State, 2-1, earlier Friday.
Stony Brook was led by Maxx Tissenbaum, who went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, and Willie Carmona, who blasted a three-run homer to right in the eighth. Tissenbaum also had a run-saving gem at second base, diving to his left to snare a grounder. Carmona, Travis Jankowski and Pat Cantwell added two hits each for the Seawolves, who had 11.
Carmona was asked how the nation might respond to Stony Brook's win. "I think they are going to pick up the paper and say, 'Wow, I guess Stony Brook is for real,' '' he said.
Starter Tyler Johnson (10-1) got the win, allowing two runs in 61/3 innings. His only blemish came on a two-run homer to left by Brad Fieger that tied the score at 2-2 in the fourth.
The question now is whether the Seawolves, who have won 12 games in a row and 23 of 24, can end Miami's bigger-picture streak and win the regional.
Miami looked like the lower seed, especially early, when the Hurricanes made two errors on consecutive bunt plays to allow Stony Brook to score its first two runs. SBU took the lead for good in the fifth on Tissenbaum's two-out, two-run single.
The Seawolves added two in the seventh on Tissenbaum's single -- his third RBI of the night -- and a throwing error. It was the Hurricanes' third error of the night, all of which resulted in runs. "This is the worst big game Miami has played in my entire career here," said coach Jim Morris, in his 19th season.
Miami (36-22), which will play No. 3 Missouri State (39-21) at 2 p.m. Saturday in an elimination game, also was victimized by poor baserunning. Three runners were caught stealing, picked off or doubled off.