Stony Brook shocks the world of baseball

WRITTEN BY: Lexi Elias
Stony Brook Field
Image Source: John Phelan via WikiCommons
Stony Brook Field

The Stony Brook Seawolves have kicked the NY Yankees off the front of page of the sports section.  Sunday night, in a game 3 clincher in Baton Rouge, L.A., Stony Brook defeated six-time national champion LSU 7-2.  For the first time in school history, this Cinderella team has advanced to the College World Serious against UCLA in Omaha.

Stony Brook Seawolves center fielder and leading hitter, Travis Jankowski, stated, “Our motto is: ‘Shock the world and win the last game of the season.”

Although the title of College World Series Champions may stun the world, LSU is confident in the Seawolves.  “They outplayed us in every phase of the game,” LSU coach, Paul Mainieri, stated.  “The people in the South haven’t heard much about Stony Brook, but they know who they are now.”

With relentless hitting and great pitching, Stony Brook bounced back from a Game 1 loss against LSU.  Frankie Vanderka was a key player for Stony Brook on Sunday evening as he threw a complete-game three-hitter in the series clincher.  Likewise, Travis Jankowski had four hits and scored two runs.  Also for Stony Brook, Maxx Tissenbaum drove in three runs with a pair of doubles for the Seawolves. 

LSU’s Raph Rhymes went 1-for-13 in the series after coming in hitting .452.  “They [Stony Brook] played phenomenal defense.  We hit balls hard, but they just found gloves tonight,” said Rhymes. “You have to give credit to Stony Brook, to their pitching and to their defense.”

Seawolves coach, Matt Senk, has come a long way since he was first hired at the once-Division 111 Stony Brook in 1991.  “I’m a little overwhelmed, quite frankly, because I think I do know that magnitude of this.  To make it to Omaha (is) every college baseball team’s dream, every college baseball coach’s dream and it’s come to fruition,” said Senk.  When describing how former LSU coach, Skip Bertman, winner of five national titles, congratulated him after the LSU game Sunday night, Senk stated, “Having that man congratulate me for going to the College World Series, it’s just unbelievable.”

The Stony Brook Seawolves are proud to be playing for Senk as he has devoted a two-plus-decade commitment to the program.  Senk oversaw Stony Brook’s transition from Division 3 to Division 2 in 1995, and then to Division 1 where he proudly coaches this year’s College World Series team. 

“Any great team, there has to be a great coach and that’s where it always starts,’ Tissenbaum stated. “To be able to put this all together and crown it for coach and the entire staff, it’s phenomenal.”

Stony Brook has gained a great deal of respect in the world of college baseball over the past year, and they will be the first team from New York State to play in the College World Series since 1980.

While Stony Brook may have been overlooked in the past, the Seawolves are clearly making their mark in the world of baseball this year.  Professional baseball scouts have been keeping their tabs on this year’s Stony Brook team as seven Seawolves were selected in last week’s Major league Baseball draft.  

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