OMAHA, Neb. -- As Tom Hanks famously said in the movie "A League of Their Own," there's no crying in baseball. But who could blame Stony Brook's Seawolves if they had to choke back a few tears when their College World Series dream died hard in a 12-2 loss to Florida State yesterday.
It was the second humiliating loss for the Seawolves (52-15), who arrived as the nation's winningest team but were pounded by a combined score of 21-3. Still, becoming only the second No. 4 regional seed to make it to the College World Series was a remarkable breakthrough for a school that has played Division I sports only since 1999.
Words came with difficulty to national coach of the year Matt Senk, who choked up in the postgame news conference when asked what it meant to earn the respect Stony Brook received in Omaha. "It means everything," Senk said. "It means a lot."
Describing the locker-room scene, Travis Jankowski said, "Coach Senk wasn't really able to speak in front of us because of the devastation. Everyone thanked each other for a great season. Tears were shed and hugs given out. I'm sure it's going to be rough the next couple nights, but we'll get through it."
The Seawolves pounded top-notch pitching in their run to Omaha, but the hits stopped coming in bunches once they arrived. FSU starter Mike Compton (12-2) quieted Stony Brook's lineup, allowing six hits, two walks and two runs in six innings. The Seminoles (49-16) next face UCLA, which lost to Arizona, 4-0, Sunday night.
Walks and a key defensive miscue were Stony Brook's undoing. The turning point came in the third inning with FSU leading 1-0. Brandon McNitt (8-4) got the first two outs, but singles by Sherman Johnson and Devon Travis and an RBI double by James Ramsey made it 2-0.
Jayce Boyd then grounded to shortstop Cole Peragine for what should have been an inning-ending out, but he double-clutched and skipped his throw past first baseman Kevin Courtney, allowing two runs to score. McNitt walked Steve McGee before Justin Gonzalez launched a three-run homer into the leftfield bullpen for a 7-0 lead.
McNitt got the final out of the inning, but the damage was significant -- six runs after there were two outs, five unearned. He said it wasn't the error that bothered him. "I made a mistake," he said of the home run.
Sal Intagliata singled to lead off the bottom of the third for Stony Brook's first hit. Two outs later, Willie Carmona (two hits) belted a long drive into the gap in right-center. Intagliata was almost to the plate when the ball hopped into the stands for a ground-rule double. He had to return to third, and the threat ended when Maxx Tissenbaum lined out. "When it hopped in the stands, I thought, 'This is the way it's got to go. It's just not going our way,' " Carmona said. "It was unbelievable."
McNitt walked John Holland to start the fourth, and two outs later, Travis banged a two-run homer into the leftfield bullpen for a 9-0 lead. That ended the day for McNitt, who gave up nine runs (four earned), six hits and three walks in 32/3 innings.
The Seawolves finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth. Courtney led off with a double and went to third on a single by Jankowski. Pat Cantwell's grounder drove in the first run and Carmona's hard single to rightfield made it 9-2.
James Campbell gave up FSU's last three runs on three straight doubles in the sixth.
In the end, it wasn't losing that hurt so much as the way the Seawolves lost by playing less than their best. "We were hot for so long," Carmona said. "We won [28 of 31], something ridiculous. We took down Miami, UCF, Missouri State, LSU. Eventually, the flame fizzles out, I guess, and you struggle. But you can't choose when to struggle. We just struggled this weekend."