BATON ROUGE, La. -- Get ready for a New York state of mind, Omaha. For the first time in 26 years, Stony Brook is bringing the Northeast to Nebraska's college baseball haven.
Maxx Tissenbaum drove in three runs with a pair of doubles and Travis Jankowski and Willie Carmona totaled seven hits to back Frankie Vanderka's three-hitter Sunday night as the Seawolves beat LSU, 7-2, in Game 3 of the Baton Rouge Super Regional to reach the College World Series.
Said LSU coach Paul Mainieri, "People in the South hadn't heard about Stony Brook. They know who they are now.''
Stony Brook (52-13) will take on UCLA (47-14) in the opening round of the CWS at either 5 or 9 p.m. Friday. SBU became only the second team to open the tournament as a No. 4 seed in the regional round and reach the College World Series since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1999. The first was Fresno State during its stunning 2008 run to a national title.
"The only thing I know is we're trending on Twitter right now,'' Jankowski said, "and that's pretty cool.''
The Seawolves have won 28 of their last 31 games. Said Mainieri, "I would not be one bit surprised if Stony Brook went on and won the national championship. They outplayed us in every phase of the game. It's hard for me to find any weaknesses in their team.''
The Seawolves bounced back after suffering a heartbreaking 5-4, 12-inning loss in Game 1 in which they held three late leads but allowed tying home runs in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings. They outhit the Tigers 35-15 in the series, and SBU's three starting pitchers allowed three runs (one earned) and nine hits in 25 innings. "The pressure wasn't on us,'' Tissenbaum said, "and we weren't going to put any pressure on ourselves.''
SBU, which has gone 6-2 with two one-run losses in the regional and super regional rounds, is the first New York City-area team to reach the CWS since St. John's in 1980 and the first team from the Northeast since 1986.
"It's a little overwhelming, quite frankly,'' said coach Matt Senk, whose program was in Division III when he arrived in 1991. "I think I do understand the magnitude of this. Getting to Omaha is every college baseball player's and every coach's dream, and it's come to fruition. To have [legendary former LSU coach] Skip Bertman shake my hand and congratulate me on getting to the College World Series . . . My goodness.''
Said Tissenbaum of his coach, "For us to be able to do this for him is unbelievable.''
Leading off the game, Jankowski (four hits) singled for the first of the Seawolves' 15 hits, moved up on Pat Cantwell's sacrifice and scored on a single by Carmona (three hits).
But LSU's Mason Katz -- who had homered off Jasvir Rakkar to tie the score at 4 in the 11th inning of Game 1 and then singled home the winning run off Vanderka in the bottom of the 12th inning -- homered off Vanderka with two outs in the first inning of Game 3 to tie it at 1-1. That was the only hit off Vanderka through 61/3 innings.
Jankowski doubled to lead off the third, and after Cantwell sacrificed him to third and Carmona struck out, Tissenbaum lined an RBI double to right, Kevin Krause (two hits) lined an RBI single to center, Cole Peragine singled to center and Steven Goldstein (two hits) lined an RBI single to right, giving Stony Brook a 4-1 lead and knocking out LSU starter Ryan Eades.
"Bouncing back and scoring right after they did was huge,'' Jankowski said.
One pitch after a 3-and-2 pitch appeared to both hit Tissenbaum in the hand and glance off his bat -- it was ruled a foul ball, but that didn't make it hurt any less -- his two-run double with one out in the fourth made it 6-1.
One out later, Peragine walked and Goldstein singled to load the bases, but Kevin Courtney's bid for a grand slam was tracked down by Katz just in front of the centerfield wall.
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