Five of the eight spots in the College World Series are set, but it's easy to predict which team will be the darling of Omaha.
Stony Brook completed one of the most stunning upsets in college baseball history Sunday, thoroughly dominating Louisiana State 7-2 to win the Baton Rouge Super Regional. Stony Brook, an America East Conference school from Long Island, went into college baseball's most intimidating environment and won a decisive third game in front of 11,976 fans—larger than Stony Brook's home attendance for the entire season. On his way into the postgame press conference, coach Matt Senk received a congratulatory handshake from former LSU coach Skip Bertman, winner of five national titles. The moment was surreal for Senk, who arrived at Stony Brook in 1991 and shepherded the program through its transition from Division III to D-II in 1995, then from D-II to D-I in 2000.
"I'm a little overwhelmed, quite frankly, because I think I do know the magnitude of this," Senk said afterward. "To make it to Omaha is every college baseball team's dream, every college baseball coach's dream, and it's come to fruition. And to do against LSU, Alex Box Stadium . . . to shake Coach Bertman's hand on the way in. Oh my God. Having that man congratulate me for going to the College World Series, it's just unbelievable."
Frankie Vanderka, who spent most of the season as Stony Brook's closer, held LSU to just three hits in a complete game, while the Seawolves pounded out 15 hits against LSU's vaunted pitching staff. First-team preseason All-American Travis Jankowski went 4-for-6 to lead the Seawolves, who took control of the game with three runs in the third and two more in the fourth. The only time Stony Brook trailed in the three-game super regional was after Mason Katz hit a walk-off RBI single to end the first game in the 12th inning. It was a dominating performance by the Seawolves, who went through perennial powerhouses Miami and LSU on their way to Omaha.
"I very seriously doubt that we're sneaking up on anybody when we go to Omaha," Senk said. "Watch out for Stony Brook."
Let's get to the rest of the day's action, starting with the two other super regionals that were decided Sunday:
Gainesville Super Regional
Florida earned a hard-fought 9-8 win in 10 innings against North Carolina State to sweep the series and advance to Omaha for the third straight year. A two-hour, 23-minute rain delay ended Wolfpack ace Carlos Rodon's outing after three hitless innings, and the Gators stormed ahead with four runs in the fourth against the N.C. State bullpen after play resumed. But the 'Pack fought back as it has done all year, and the teams traded rallies in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings. Daniel Pigott's solo homer and Josh Tobias' RBI single put the Gators ahead by two in the 10th, but the Wolfpack battled back for one run in the bottom of the frame, then left the tying run at second base when Chris Diaz was called out on a very questionable third strike from Keenan Kish. Casey Turgeon (3-for-5, 2 R, RBI) led Florida's balanced 15-hit attack.
Tallahassee Super Regional
Florida State pummeled Stanford for the second straight day, 18-7, to advance to Omaha for the 21st time. Sherman Johnson (3-for-6, R, 5 RBI) led the FSU offense and helped put the Seminoles in a commanding position with a three-run homer in the second, giving FSU a 6-0 lead. The Cardinal trailed 10-2 heading into the seventh, when it made things interesting with four runs in the inning before leaving the bases loaded. Florida State stomped on Stanford's throat with eight runs in the next inning, punctuated by Seth Miller's grand slam. The 'Noles outscored the Cardinal 35-8 in a two-game sweep.
Columbia Super Regional
Game Two between South Carolina and Oklahoma was postponed by rain until Monday at 4 p.m. ET. A third game would follow Monday evening if necessary.
Eugene Super Regional
Oregon leveled the series with a come-from-behind 3-2 win against Kent State. Ryan Bores (6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) carried a 2-0 lead into the seventh, when Oregon rallied for three runs, highlighted by Ryan Hambright's game-tying single and Brett Hambright's perfectly executed squeeze. The Oregon bullpen took it from there, as Tommy Thorpe and Jimmie Sherfy combined to strike out six of the final eight Kent State hitters—including three straight after T.J. Sutton's leadoff double in the ninth.
Waco Super Regional
Arkansas came from behind with two runs in the ninth to beat Baylor, 5-4, and force a decisive third game Monday. The Bears unraveled in the final frame, as shortstop Jake Miller booted a routine double-play ball that would have ended the game, and two Baylor relievers later issued back-to-back hit-by-pitches to force in the tying and winning runs. That spoiled a solid start from Josh Turley (7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K), who out-pitched Ryne Stanek (4 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). But after the Bears took a 4-3 lead with three runs in the fifth, relievers Brandon Moore, Barrett Astin and Trent Daniel kept them off the scoreboard for the final four frame, setting up the ninth-inning rally.
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