San Diego outfielder Travis Jankowski always has East Coast trips circled on his calendar.
The former Stony Brook University standout has especially enjoyed the Padres’ current six-game road trip that wraps up Wednesday and has included visits to both Philadelphia and New York.
The Lancaster, Pennsylvania, native also knows that this two-city road swing can hit him in the wallet seeing family, friends and former Stony Brook teammates.
“This is one of the best stretches, but it definitely hurts the paycheck a little bit,” Jankowski joked before Tuesday night’s 6-3 Mets win. “It’s always fun to see everyone back home from Lancaster [in Philadelphia, where the Padres opened the second half] and then shooting up here to see my college friends.
“They’re more like brothers to me, which is awesome. I have a ton of support from Stony Brook, still, so it’s really cool.”
Jankowski has a .254/.337/.330 slash line with two home runs and 11 RBIs in 68 games this season. The 6-2, 190-pound outfielder is 14-for-17 (82 percent) in stolen-base attempts.
The fourth-year big-leaguer is hitting .316 with runners in scoring position with a .435 on-base percentage and a .421 slugging percentage since June 1. The 27-year-old also has a team-best 13 infield hits.
Jankowski said he saw a lot of his family in Philadelphia, and he’s seen more Seawolves at Citi Field, including former teammates (and Long Island products) Sal Intagliata, Frankie Vanderka and Josh Barry, and hopes to see members of the Stony Brook athletic department, including baseball coach Matt Senk on Wednesday.
“We catch up and see what’s going on in each other’s lives, and see how families are doing, but the College World Series obviously gets brought up,” said Jankowski, who sat out Tuesday’s game after going 0-for-3 Monday. “That’s something we try and keep fresh in our memories all the time. Just relive it. It’s just one of those things. You just don’t want to let that memory ever fade.”
Stony Brook went 52-15 during that magical 2012 season when Jankowski was a junior. The Seawolves became the first America East team, the first team from New York in 30 years, and first from the Northeast since 1986 to reach the College World Series. Senk was later named national Coach of the Year.
Jankowski, one of seven Stony Brook players taken in the MLB draft that season, was the 44th overall pick of the Padres in the supplemental first-round draft. He became Stony Brook’s first-ever, first-round pick. He’s the only Seawolves player from that team still in the majors.
“I always keep in touch with these guys,” Jankowski said. “It keeps that memory fresh, and just talking about it gives me goose bumps.”
Stony Brook has a special place in Jankowski’s heart, even six years removed from attending the school 54 miles east of Citi Field. Jankowski became a member of the Stony Brook University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.
“It’s awesome. That university meant a lot to me, man,” Jankowski said. “I really grew up and developed as a person and as a baseball player with the help of coach Senk and that staff, all the college professors, and academic advisers helped me along the way. It helped me mature and got me ready for the real world.
“The friendship and the brotherhood I made with those guys on that team is something that I’ll never forget or take for granted.”
Jankowski talked Tuesday about how much it means when family, friends and former teammates are in the ballpark during San Diego games.
“The fans in San Diego are awesome,” Jankowski said. “But there’s something about coming to where you’ve established yourself before you made it to the big leagues, and coming back to New York and having all the Stony Brook supporters, it gives you an extra bit of adrenaline, like, ‘I want to go out here and I want to produce.’ ”
“I think you put extra pressure on yourself. You want to go out there and have all your friends see you do well, and all those who helped you along the way. You want them to be in the stands, when you do well, and not just watching you on TV. [There's] definitely added adrenaline when I come to Philly and New York.”