June 1, 2012

CBI Live: #2 UCF 2, #3 Missouri State 1

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Stony Brook Stuns Miami

By David Furones


(photo by Eric Espada)


CORAL GABLES, Fla. – It was said before play began that the Coral Gables Regional might be the toughest one to get out of. Host and No. 1 seed Miami got a taste of why analysts were saying that Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park.


With six strong innings from starter Tyler Johnson, opportunistic hitting and shaky defense from the opposition, No. 4 seed Stony Brook shocked Miami 10-2 to advance to play UCF in the winners’ bracket. Miami dips into the losers’ bracket for a date with Missouri State.


“I think the team that you saw tonight is a team that, quite frankly, went out and played like that on a regular basis,” Stony Brook coach Matt Senk said. “For some people who are not so much in the know in college baseball, there might be a ‘wow factor’ to that because it is Stony Brook-Miami.”


A 3-for-5 night with three RBI from second baseman and clean-up hitter Maxx Tissenbaum led the Seawolves’ offensive charge.


“It’s a great opportunity to play in front of a crowd like that, and you just hope you can go out and do everything you can to help your team get a win,” Tissenbaum said. “That’s kind of what everybody did. You can pick out a lot of guys that did a lot of great things for us.”


The Seawolves (47-11), who have gone 35-3 since April 1, also got multi-hit performances from the entire top of the order in Travis Jankowski, Pat Cantwell and William Carmona, who topped off the victory with a three-run homer to right in the eighth inning to make it a 9-2 ball game.


“They were coming in with fastballs the whole game,” Carmona said. “I was letting them go by, and finally I decided to put a good swing on one, and it just happened to go out.”


Meanwhile, Stony Brook starter Tyler Johnson went 6.1 innings against the Canes (36-22), giving up two earned runs off eight hits, striking out three and walking another three.


“That’s kind of typical Tyler Johnson,” Senk said. “He’s always around the zone. He’s pitching to contact, and our guys love playing behind him. He competes, and that’s what Tyler’s all about.”


The Seawolves, the America East champs who came into the regional with the nation’s best winning percentage, were able to chase Miami sixth-year starting pitcher Eric Erickson earlier than he wished to go, scoring two runs in the second and two more in the fifth.


Erickson’s final line over five innings was four runs (two earned) and six hits. He struck out two and didn’t walk a batter, although he hit two.


After Miami tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the fourth with a Brad Fieger two-run blast over the left-field scoreboard, the Seawolves responded right back in the top of the fifth.


Tissenbaum drove in two with a two-out single over the second baseman’s head. Stony Brook got its first two runners on that frame, moved them over and set up Tissenbaum with runners in scoring position.


Tissenbaum spoke about how the challenge of playing a storied baseball program in its house did not scare them away.


“I think every time we come to the yard, coach expects us to win, we expect ourselves to win,” Tissenbaum said. “That’s part of the way that you build a winning program. You can’t come out there expecting that anybody’s going to be too good for you. You have to come in confident, but ready with your preparation. I think that’s what we’ve done.”


For Miami, the three errors and three unearned runs plus the lackluster pitching and hitting performances, had coach Jim Morris irate.


“It’s the worst big game that the University of Miami has played in my entire coaching career,” Morris said. “I’m very sad to watch the way we played tonight. Stony Brook played outstanding, and we played just the opposite.”


Brandon McNitt (8-2, 2.26 ERA) will take the hill for the Seawolves against UCF Saturday. For Miami, left-hander Steven Ewing (6-2, 3.28 ERA) will go up against Missouri State.


Game Notes

·    Stony Brook, advantageous of two Miami errors, struck first scoring two runs in the second. The two Miami captains were the ones committing the errors on separate bunt plays—first Peter O’Brien whiffing on an Erickson throw to first, and then Erickson sailing a throw to first over O’Brien’s head.

·    Hurricanes reliever Adam Sargent had a similar lapse in the seventh, sailing a double-play ball over second base to allow a run to score. Cantwell, Carmona and Tissenbaum hit consecutive singles to rally off Miami reliever Chris Diaz for a run before that play occurred.

·    Second baseman Tissenbaum, in addition to his great game at the plate, saved a run in the fifth with the Seawolves up 4-2 by diving to his left preventing a ball off the bat of Chantz Mack to get into right field with two out and a runner on third.

·    Of what Carmona says he expects fans to say when they find out that Stony Brook beat Miami, he said, “I think they’re going to read the paper and be like, ‘Oh wow. I guess Stony Brook’s for real.’”

·    Post-game, Senk wanted to express apologetic sentiments toward Miami coach Jim Morris for a Steven Goldstein steal in the eighth inning with the game already out of hand. Senk says the play resulted from a miscommunication in the sign Goldstein was given and Senk pulled Goldstein from the game immediately afterward.

·    In the winners’ bracket, Stony Brook prepares to face off against UCF Saturday at 7 p.m.

·    The Miami-Missouri State elimination game will take place Saturday at 2 p.m.