Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Stony Brook wins Coral Gables Regional, will face LSU

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- The greatest baseball season in Stony Brook history is still alive. Fourth-seeded SBU (50-12) completed its shocking run through the Coral Gables Regional Monday night, beating second-seeded Central Florida, 10-6.
SBU, which went 4-1 in the regional, advanced to the best-of-three Baton Rouge Super Regional against No. 3 LSU (46-16) next weekend.
SBU joined Missouri (2006) and Fresno State (2008) as the only No. 4 seeds to win a regional since the field was expanded to 64 in 2001.
The Seawolves fell into the losers' bracket Saturday with a 9-8 loss to Central Florida but then won their final three games, beating Central Florida twice.
SBU third baseman Willie Carmona went 4-for-5 with a homer, a double and four RBIs in the final game. Carmona was 11-for-21 with two homers, two doubles and 10 RBIs in five regional games. Travis Jankowski was 11-for-23.
The SBU offense amassed 50 runs and 59 hits in five regional games. "One through six, we have some absolute studs in our lineup," said Kevin Courtney, who bats ninth and came up with several key hits in the regional. "It feels great to be down there and turn the lineup over to Travis at the top of the order."
Tyler Johnson, who was pitching on two days' rest after beating Miami on Friday, threw 119 pitches and allowed four runs in 61/3 innings. Johnson gave up two home runs and three RBIs to Central Florida's D.J. Hicks but otherwise was stellar.
Baseball America's Aaron Fitt, who was perhaps the only one in the media to predict that Stony Brook would win this regional, said the Seawolves have been "on the rise" for a while.
"Coach Matt Senk and his staff do a great job of identifying and developing talent," Fitt said in a phone interview Monday. "This is an experienced and legitimately talented team with at least five or six guys who had strong summers in the Cape Cod League against top competition. That gave me reason to believe they could hang in this regional."
They did. Now they'll face LSU, which has never lost a Super Regional series at home in five tries and has led the nation in attendance 17 years in a row, routinely averaging more than 10,500 fans.
The other No. 4 seeds around the country this year went 8-30. Some of them got embarrassed, including Dayton, which lost 28-12 to TCU, and Bethune-Cookman, which was no-hit by Florida. But the Seawolves, who have won 26 of their past 28, proved they belong.
On Sunday, Courtney indicated SBU is not lacking for confidence. "Right now, we're on a pretty good roll," he said. "We're feeling pretty good about ourselves."