June 3, 2012

CBI Live: #4 Stony Brook 10, #3 Missouri State 7

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Stony Brook, UCF to Meet Again

By David Furones



CORAL GABLES, Fla. – If UCF fans who made the four-hour drive from Orlando were expecting to celebrate the program’s first-ever Super Regional berth, they’ll have to wait at least another 24 hours.


No. 4 seed Stony Brook, which already had avoided elimination once Sunday and has played 27 innings in 27 hours, did it again on the night shift, defeating No. 2 seed UCF 12-5 to force a winner-take-all championship game for the Coral Gables Regional.


“They are resilient and tough and are just playing the game at an extremely high level right now,” Stony Brook coach Matt Senk (left) said of his players. “They let down a little bit, but they bounce back. I’m so proud of them. I’m so proud of the university they represent.”


The two teams now will set themselves up for a rematch that will take place Monday night at 7 p.m. right back at Alex Rodriguez Park.


Travis Jankowski, who now is hitting .526 in this Regional, went 3 for 6 with a triple and two base hits, and four other Seawolves posted multi-hit games to supply the 15-hit offensive outburst.


The nine-hole hitter, Kevin Courtney, after going 2 for 4 in Sunday’s first elimination game against Missouri State, pitched in with another 2-for-4 game.


“It feels great being down there to be able to turn the lineup over to [Jankowski], and have 1-6 just absolute studs coming up from behind you,” Courtney said.


Down by as many as seven, UCF (45-16) got back in the game with a three-run seventh to make it an 8-5 ball game.


Travis Shreve singled to right to drive in Ryan Breen, Darnell Sweeney drew a bases loaded walk to get Nick Carrillo across and Alex Friedrich hit a sacrifice fly to center that drove Shreve in.


The Seawolves (49-12), who coming out of the America East has the nation’s best winning percentage, responded right away, getting all three runs back in the top of the eighth to put the game out of reach.


“That was huge to get those runs back,” Senk said. “[Big offensive innings] has been a big part of our success this week.”


The Seawolves manufactured those three runs, driving them in with a bunt, a sacrifice fly and a hit batsman with the bases loaded.


Stony Brook reliever Josh Mason, who came in to stop the bleeding in the UCF half of the seventh, earned a save pitching three perfect innings.


With Senk tight on pitching, now having played 27 innings in 27 hours, he got exactly what he was looking for out of junior starter Jasvir Rakkar.


Rakkar went six innings, giving up just two runs before things unraveled for him in the big seventh for the Knights. He was replaced by Joshua Mason and responsible for the three runs that scored that frame, but was granted the victory Sunday night after five runs were scored off of him (four of them earned) on seven UCF hits. He struck out six and walked three.


“I feel like I was just able to throw all three of my pitches for strikes,” Rakkar said. “I was around the strike zone the whole time. I trust my team so I try to challenge hitters as much as possible so they put the ball in play.”


The hard-throwing right-hander had previously only started two games all year before Senk called on him in the big spot Sunday.


Stony Brook did its damage early scoring seven runs in innings two, three and four, including three in the second and fourth.


The Seawolves took advantage of two Knights errors from the middle infielders to go with three hits, two of them doubles by Courtney and Kevin Krause, who also doubled in the third to bring home a run.


In the fourth, the bottom two hitters in the Seawolves’ order ignited the rally by getting on to lead off the frame. Catcher Pat Cantwell then doubled to bring home one, William Carmona singled to bring home another, and Maxx Tissenbaum pushed a bunt to the right side.


Neither coach announced a starter for Monday’s rematch, but Senk said of his ace Tyler Johnson, starter of Stony Brook’s first game of this regional, “He absolutely wants to pitch.”


UCF coach Terry Rooney (left) said he had a message for his team following the seven-run loss.


“The message was, first and foremost, everything you want to accomplish is still in front of you,” Rooney said. “You’ve got to have a short memory.”





Game Notes

·    Stony Brook shortstop Cole Peragine made a huge play in damage control in the three-run UCF seventh. With the bases loaded, nobody out and two runs already across, he snagged a sharply hit line drive off the bat of Chris Taladay to get the first out of the inning. The Knights only scored one more run after that play.

·    About the grind of playing so many games in such little time, Courtney said, “You just try to play as hard as you can every single night, and that’s what we did tonight.”

·    Rooney moved D.J. Hicks, who was slumping, from the clean-up spot to the five-hole in the Knights lineup to shake things up. It appeared to work as Hicks went 2 for 3 with a home run.

·    The two teams picked by CollegeBaseballInsider.com analysts to come out of this regional will get a head-to-head matchup to determine the regional champ Monday night.