Shock the World! Baseball Season in Review
July 27, 2012
Stony Brook, N.Y. -
The Stony Brook baseball team put together a historic 2012 season that captured the eye of the nation, now join us at GoSeawolves.org as we take a look back at the Seawolves memorable run to Omaha.
The Regular Season
Not to be overshadowed by the Seawolves remarkable postseason run is the tremendous regular season put together by head coach Matt Senk and his team. SB won a school record 43 games, breaking the mark of 42, set by the 2011 squad, with a doubleheader sweep of Maine on the final day of regular season.
Tyler Johnson set the program's wins record on April 1 against New York Tech and Senk earned the 600th win of his career on April 21 against Hartford, becoming just the third coach in conference history to do so.
Winners of 19 of 20 games entering the America East tournament, Stony Brook won its second straight conference regular season title and then swept the major conference awards with Travis Jankowski picking up Player of the Year honors. Senk was named Coach of the Year, Johnson was Pitcher of the Year and Cole Peragine was selected as the conference's Rookie of the Year.
Stony Brook had a conference-best 12 players named all-conference.
The Seawolves finished the regular season 43-11, posting the top winning percentage in the nation (.796).
The America East tournament
The host and top-seeded Seawolves entered the 2012 America East Championships with some unfinished business after being eliminated from the 2011 conference tournament after its record-breaking regular season. SB cruised past defending tournament champion Maine in the opener and then beat Binghamton 7-4 in a winner's bracket game to advance to the title game.
Stony Brook then downed Maine, 13-6 in the final to win its second America East championship in three seasons and third in the last five years. Maine tied the game 6-6 in the fourth but the Seawolves scored the final seven runs of the game, highlighted by a monster three-run home run from Willie Carmona, to cruise to the victory.
James Campbell threw 4.0 innings of shutout relief in the final and earned Most Outstanding Player honors. Jankowski hit .600 (9-for-15) with five RBI and seven runs scored in the three games.
The Run Begins in Miami
Stony Brook's NCAA tournament journey began in Miami as the No. 4 seed in the Coral Gables Regional. SB was joined by top-seed and host Miami as well as No. 2 UCF and No. 3 Missouri St. The four-team Regional as a whole was statistically the toughest in the nation with an average RPI of 38.75.
Stony Brook opened against the four-time national champion Hurricanes, who were making their record 40th straight Regional appearance and were hosting a Regional for the 24th time.
The Seawolves wasted no time making their presence felt, routing Miami 10-2. The Hurricanes tied the game 2-2 in the fourth but a two-run single from Tissenbaum in the fifth broke the tie and SBU cruised from there to advance to the winner's bracket game against UCF.
SB fell behind early against UCF, 5-0, but the Seawolves as they would so many times, rallied back, tying the game 5-5 on a two-run Carmona double in the fourth. The Knights pushed their lead back to 9-5 but Stony Brook once again had an answer, getting to within 9-8.
The Seawolves nearly took the lead in the eighth but Carmona's bid for a two-run home run fell just short and UCF held on for the victory.
Stony Brook returned to Alex Rodriguez Park early on Sunday in an elimination game against Missouri State and promptly fell behind 7-2 after two innings. But SB got a run in the fourth before erupting for seven rmore in the seventh to storm past MSU for the victory.
Kevin Courtney had two doubles in the seven-run seventh including a two-out three-run double that broke a 7-7 tie. Frankie Vanderka threw 6.2 innings of relief to earn the win, as the Seawolves became the first America East team to advance to a Regional Final.
Stony Brook had just an hour off before having to return to the field to face UCF. The Seawolves jumped all over the Knights, scoring seven runs over the first 4.0 innings as they coasted to the 12-5 victory to force a winner take all game seven on Monday night.
Making just his third start of the season, Jasvir Rakkar went 6.0+ innings to earn the victory.
Pitching on just two days rest, Johnson got the start against UCF in the Monday night Regional Final. The Seawolves once again fell behind early, as UCF grabbed a 3-0 lead after three innings.
But Stony Brook struck for five runs in the fourth and then scored two more in the fifth and sixth. Johnson went 6.1 innings before handing the ball to Joshua Mason, who went the final 2.2 innings to close out the game and send the Seawolves to Baton Rouge for the Super Regionals.
Carmona carried the offense in the 10-7 victory, going 4-for-5 with three RBI. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Regional as he went 11-for-21 with two HR and 10 RBI in the five games.
Shocking the World
Riding high after its victory at the Coral Gables Regional, the Seawolves headed straight to Baton Rouge to face six-time national champion LSU in the best-of-three Super Regional. The Tigers were the No. 7 national seed and ranked No. 1 in one poll.
Game 1 turned out to be a classic. With LSU hitting game-tying home runs in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings. The game was suspended after the 11th and the teams came back Saturday morning to complete the game with the Tigers winning on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th.
Game 2 began just 45 minutes after the completion of Game 1 and the Seawolves went up against National Pitcher of the Year candidate Ryan Gausman. Stony Brook would not be intimated by Gausman or its crushing Game 1 loss, jumping to a 2-0 lead with two runs in the third. Courtney then added a solo home run in the fifth to push the SB lead to 3-0.
Johnson put together another masterful pitching performance. The right-hander hurled a three-hitter, his third win of the postseason. The Seawolves 3-1 victory forced a winner-take-all Game 3 with a trip to Omaha on the line.
Originally scheduled for early afternoon, Game 3 was pushed to Sunday night. Over 10,600 fans jammed into Alex Box Stadium for the showdown, the largest crowd in LSU postseason history.
The Seawolves again wasted no time silencing the crowd, getting a run in the first on a Carmona RBI single. The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the first but SB took the lead for good with three runs in the fourth and never looked back, shocking the world with a 7-2 win to punch its ticket to Omaha.
Vanderka turned in a memorable performance on the mound as he fired a three-hitter. The Seawolves pounded out 15 hits in the game led by four from Jankowski.
Stony Brook was the second No. 4 seed to advance to the College World Series since the NCAA went to Regional format in 1999 and was the first Northeast Region school to advance to College World Series since the NCAA went away from geographic regionals in 1987.
Heroes Welcome and Off to Omaha
The Seawolves returned to campus on Monday after the historic win over LSU and were welcomed home by screaming fans and media cameras.
The team exited the bus to a raucous ovation, before being honored by Congressman Tim Bishop and Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., who congratulated and thanked the players for their terrific performance.
After a day of practice at Joe Nathan Field on Tuesday, attended by a throng of media, the Seawolves shipped off to Omaha on Wednesday and arrived as `the story' of the College World Series.
Stony Brook practiced on Thursday at TD Ameritrade Park, again followed by a large contingent of reporters. Following practice the Seawolves had their hour-long autograph session for fans, who appeared in droves looking to get a glimpse of the Seawolves.
SB opened the CWS against UCLA a day later and despite the support of most of the crowd of 23,000, fell to the Bruins, 9-1. The Seawolves then bowed out of the College World Series two days later with a 12-2 loss to perennial power Florida St.
But the ride did not end there as one day after arriving back on Long Island, the New York Mets honored the team at Citi Field before their game against the Baltimore Orioles. The team attended batting practice and met with Mets players, coach and team representatives. Senk then threw out the first pitch backed by his four seniors.
Despite the two losses to end the season, the Seawolves still cemented their place in college baseball history with their memorable 2012 season.
Below is a compilation of media coverage from this season as well as a list of the Seawolves many accomplishments from this season.
2012 Stony Brook Baseball Accomplishments
2012 Stony Brook Baseball Media coverage
Stony Brook wins over Omaha (ESPN.com)
2012 Stony Brook Baseball Video Links
Highlights from Game 2 of Super Regionals (NCAA.com)