SBU wins twice, needs 1 more for title

Stony Brook's Kevin Courtney hits a double to Stony Brook's Kevin Courtney hits a double to score three runs in the seventh inning during an NCAA college baseball tournament regional game against Missouri State in Coral Gables, Fla. Stony Brook won 10-7. (June 3, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Missouri State coach Keith Guttin told Stony Brook counterpart Matt Senk before the weekend began: "You are the best four seed in the country."

And the Seawolves have done their best to prove Guttin right.

Stony Brook (49-12) won two games Sunday to reach Monday night's Coral Gables Regional championship game against Central Florida (45-16). SBU beat Central Florida, 12-5, late Sunday nightafter eliminating Missouri State, 10-7, in the afternoon.

Neither coach would commit to a starting pitcher for Monday night, but Senk hinted that ace Tyler Johnson, who pitched Friday, will be available in relief.

The Seawolves were 1-6 in three previous regional appearances, but they are one win away from joining Missouri (2006) and Fresno State (2008) as the only No. 4 seeds to win a regional since the field was expanded to 64 in 2001. SBU has beaten all three opponents in this regional, scoring 40 runs and picking up 47 hits in four games.

"Stony Brook has one of the best offensive teams we've seen all year," Central Florida coach Terry Rooney said. "They are a great team. It's easy to see when a team has talent, but they also have a great offensive plan. It's very noticeable."

Kevin Courtney -- whose three-run double that snapped a 7-7 tie in SBU's seven-run seventh against Missouri State was his second double of the inning, both on 0-and-2 pitches -- said his team was fatigued after playing late Saturday night.

"It's been rough so far, especially after the first game. That took a lot out of us," he said. "We tried to relax after the first game, ice up all our injuries. In the second game, we were dead tired. And then, early in the game, you start not feeling anything."

Travis Jankowski had three hits in each game Sunday. He is 10-for-19 in the four games.

The Game 2 win went to Jasvir Rakkar, who made only his third start of the season. He allowed five runs in six innings and got brilliant relief from Joshua Mason, who allowed no hits, walks or runs in three innings.

In the afternoon, SBU rallied from a five-run deficit for the second time in two games. Frankie Vanderka allowed two runs in 62/3 innings of relief. "That was an unbelievable performance by Frank," Senk said. "It was a tremendous job by our team, too. We just kept fighting back."

Against Missouri State, Courtney started the big seventh with a double to right and Jankowski singled to put runners at the corners. Pat Cantwell and Willie Carmona followed with RBI singles, Maxx Tissenbaum's bunt drove in another run and Steven Goldstein tied the score at 7-7 with a bases-loaded walk.

That set up Courtney, a lefty hitter who bats last in the order and had the lowest batting average (.291) among the starters. He went the other way and sent the ball flying over the head of leftfielder Keenen Maddox.

Missouri State threatened in the ninth. Derek Mattea singled, and after James Campbell relieved Vanderka, Kevin Medrano singled and Brent Seifert walked with one out to load the bases. But Campbell struck out Maddox and Luke Voit on outside fastballs, each at 93 mph.With the two victories, SBU set the single-season wins record for an America East team and became the first school from the conference to make a regional final in baseball.

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