CWS Game Five: Florida State 12, Stony Brook 2


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GAME AT A GLANCE
Turning Point: Florida State had two outs and none on in the third inning when Sherman Johnson singled up the middle to start a rally. James Ramsey’s RBI double started the scoring, a two-run error made it 4-0, and Justin Gonzalez put the game away with a three-run homer to give the Seminoles an insurmountable 7-0 lead.

The Hero: Florida State had plenty, but start with the top three spots in the lineup. Johnson, Devon Travis and Ramsey combined for seven hits, including a home run by Travis.

You Might Have Missed: Travis Jankowski and Tyler Johnson earned a lot of the face time for the Seawolves during this amazing postseason run, but Willie Carmona had a huge year for Stony Brook, and went out with two hits in his finale. He wound up hitting .395 with 26 doubles on the season, mammoth numbers that helped power Stony Brook’s storybook season.

OMAHA—The final game of Stony Brook’s season, for the first time ever, came in the College World Series.

It came Sunday against Florida State, and there was no doubt about which was the better team. Florida State got a run in the first inning, then six more in the third en route to a 12-2 victory.

It ended the Stony Brook story that captivated college baseball over the last three weeks. The Seawolves (52-15) had won a regional at Miami and a super regional at Louisiana State, and became the darling of the Series as a result. Even Seminoles coach Mike Martin said, “If I was a resident of Omaha, that’s who I would have pulled for today.”

The 22,112 at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha had little to cheer for if they were pulling for the Seawolves, though. Florida State pounced on starter Brandon McNitt for a run in the first, then put up a six spot in the third after McNitt retired the first two batters of the inning. Shortstop Justin Gonzalez struck the biggest blow with a three-run homer into the left-field bullpen. When Devon Travis clubbed a two-run shot into the same bullpen in the fourth, the rout was on.

“To hit a ball out of that ballpark is quite a feat, and of course Devon and Gonzo did it,” Martin said. “It’s a tremendous lift when you can get five runs with two swings of the bat.”

Stony Brook could never get its potent bats going against freshman righthander Mike Compton, who tied for the national lead with his 12th victory in 14 decisions. Compton went six innings, giving up six hits and two runs.

Stony Brook is not the first team to come to Omaha and be overwhelmed by the Series or by bigger-name opponents. Its story resembles those of Southern Mississippi (2009), Missouri State (2003) and San Jose State (2000), teams that went 0-2 to end their Cinderella runs to the Series in the 64-team era.

But it was the first team from the Northeast to get to Omaha since 1980 and brought the New York media (at least a small part of it) to the CWS. The Seawolves didn’t play up to their ability on their biggest stage—they gave up 21 runs in two games after limiting LSU to just seven last weekend, and they scored just three runs after ranking eighth in the country entering the Series with 7.2 runs per game.

“It wasn’t really the level of pitching that threw us off our game,” outfielder Travis Jankowski said, “it was our approach that we didn’t stick to. We were chasing pitches out of the zone and missing pitches that we could hit.”

If the Series stage didn’t overwhelm the Seawolves, the finality of the end of the season did. Coach Matt Senk used his full 10-minute cooling-off period after the game before coming to the media room and was emotional throughout, trying to sum up a dream season that ended with the team’s first back-to-back losses since March 25.

“We traditionally when the season ends have one more meeting, and at that time there’s a little time after that last loss and that meeting, (we) can celebrate what we did, celebrate the seniors,” Senk said. ” . . . And I wish that wasn’t happening yet, but I think I look forward to, the seniors get to say something as well. In a couple of days when we do that, it will be a lot easier (than it is now). It makes it easier when everyone parts company, one last chance to give everybody a hug and wish everybody the best.”

McNitt added, “It’s going to be tough seeing the seniors going away. Even like a lot of the juniors that got drafted, they’re still going to keep playing ball, which is good for them. But we had such a great team . . . and it’s going to be tough to see everybody go their separate ways. But we’ll be all right next season too.”

Coming back, being a strong regional contender again, winning a regional again, maybe even becoming a regular Omaha contender—that’s what Senk and his players strive to achieve. It’s fun to be the new team, but it’s more fun to be an Omaha regular like Florida State, even if the Seminoles have never won a national championship.

No one expected Senk and the Seawolves to beat LSU last weekend—Martin complimented Senk and his staff in his postgame handshake—and no one expected them to win the CWS this year. Once, they were able to do the impossible. They just couldn’t do it again.

“I sure hope what these young men have done, the tremendous accomplishments—I think they’ve already done so much for the university in so many different ways, so much for Long Island, and I think that it will be a great homecoming for this team and well deserved,” Senk said.

“And hopefully this team has done some things that will have a ripple effect that goes on for a long, long time.”

College | #2012 #College World Series #Postseason

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