New York’s Cinderella Story
Every March, the entire sporting world falls in love with a smaller university or college and pronounces it the “Cinderella” of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Well, there is a similar story taking place in the world of College Baseball, as a local New York Area team has clinched a spot in the college baseball’s premier tournament. Yesterday, the Stony Brook Sea Wolves of the America East Conference shocked the world as the Sea Wolves defeated the LSU Tigers in a win-or-go-home game to clinch the school’s first ever trip to the College World Series.
The LSU Tiger baseball program is the equivalent of Kentucky basketball and Alabama Football. LSU has won 6 National Championships, and the before mentioned three game set against Stony Brook was played in front of 10,000 LSU fans dressed in all purple and yellow. LSU had been 8-0 in home series prior to Stony Brook’s arrival, though Stony Brook was not at all intimidated by the task of playing the Tigers. The Sea Wolves outhit the Tigers in the three game set 35 to 15. Even though the Sea Wolves lost a devastating Game 1 in dramatic fashion, as the Tigers hit 3 game tying homers in 3 consecutive innings. The game was then pushed back to the next morning due to rain, and the Tigers were able to win on a walk off hit hours before the teams had to retake the field for the second game. However, Stony Brook ace Tyler Johnson took the ball and pitched his team to a 3-1 three hit complete game to tie the series at one.
The Tigers felt confident coming into the rubber match Sunday, figuring they would be able to get to Stony Brook starter Frankie Vanderka, but after allowing a solo homerun in the first inning, the pitcher shut the Tigers down for the remainder of the game. The Sea Wolves were able to get their bats going and the end result was a 7-2 victory for the underdogs. Stony Brook has now won 28 of 30 and became only the second team ever to begin the tournament as a 4 seed in their regional round and reach Omaha. The first was Fresno State in 2008, who eventually won the entire tournament. With all that said, the Stony Brook program has been on the rise for the past few years as seven Seawolves were selected in last week’s Major League Baseball draft. The current team has eight players with 168 or more at-bats hitting .300 or better, and they are the first team in the nation to win 50 games this year. Although the perennial powerhouse LSU Tigers, and prior to them the Miami Hurricanes weren’t prepared for the Sea Wolves, every team that comes across Stony Brook in the upcoming tournament and in years to come better be aware. It looks as if the Sea Wolves baseball program is going to be regulars in Omaha and lets hope that this group of kids continues to represent New York baseball as they have thus far. Congratulation Sea Wolves!