Stony Brook making history
By David Helman
BATON ROUGE, La. -- The storyline is already begging to be written for the Stony Brook Seawolves. Stony Brook advanced to the College World Series after shocking LSU.
Out of the lowly America East Conference, this New York school with a quizzical name will arrive at the College World Series as a surprising No. 4 seed and a darling Cinderella story.
Rather than hosting a mighty LSU program, with 15 College World Series appearances and six national championships, the city of Omaha, Neb., will instead familiarize itself with a Stony Brook squad that has made a truly unexpected journey.
"We were underdogs coming in here -- we had nothing to lose," said Stony Brook center fielder Travis Jankowski. "We came out and our motto is, 'Shock the world.' "
Consider the world shocked. But maybe it shouldn't be.
Sure, Stony Brook is only the second No. 4 seed to reach Omaha in the modern postseason format. And the Seawolves have never been to the pinnacle of college baseball.
But after a weekend of knocking LSU pitchers senseless to the tune of 50 combined hits, while limiting the Tigers to just 15 hits of their own -- a weekend that saw the Seawolves in the lead every single time they took an at-bat -- it's hard to classify Stony Brook as an underdog.
"I don't think that LSU took us lightly, and they were as prepared as we were," said Stony Brook coach Matt Senk. "I very seriously doubt we're sneaking up on anybody."
By the time they were dog piling on top of winning pitcher Frankie Vanderka on Sunday night, the Seawolves were winners of six of their last eight in this NCAA postseason.
"The pressure wasn't on us coming in here," said second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum. "We weren't putting it on ourselves. When you're playing loose, it's a whole lot easier to hit, to pitch, to play defense."
The Seawolves did all three exceptionally. On Friday and Saturday, the bottom of the Seawolves' lineup carried the offense in two squeaky efforts.
Despite hitting eighth and ninth in the order, Kevin Courtney and Sal Intagliata combined for four of Stony Brook's seven RBI in the first two games.
"Kevin Courtney had a hell of a series. I don't know any other way to put it," Vanderka said.
On Sunday, the more traditional weapons showcased themselves when third baseman William Carmona and Tissenbaum, the Seawolves' three and four-hole hitters, combined for five hits and four RBI against an overmatched LSU pitching staff.
"It is hard for me to find weaknesses in their team," said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. "Offensively, one through nine, that was the toughest lineup that we have faced all year. I will put them in the category with Florida, maybe even better."
It wasn't just the hitters doing the damage, either. Mainieri watched in frustration all weekend as his Tigers were held to just six combined hits in two separate complete game performances from Vanderka and Saturday starter Tyler Johnson.
Cinderella Stony Brook heading to Omaha
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