As an LSU Tigers fan, I thought my team had a great shot to get to the 2012 College World Series after winning the regular season SEC title and then sweeping through an NCAA Regional at home. Unfortunately, the Stony Brook Seawolves then came to Baton Rouge for a Super Regional matchup and dominated the series, allowing LSU to hold a lead in only one of the 30 total innings.
While I was sad to see my team's season end, it was clear that Stony Brook was the better team at this point in the season. If you are a baseball fan and have not seen the team play yet, you will want to tune in on Friday, June 15, when the Seawolves play UCLA in the College World Series opener.
Below are five Stony Brook players who fans of the game will enjoy watching.
1. Travis Jankowski, Center Field
When Jankowski gets on base, he is immediately a threat to score. Also, he gets on base a lot. With a .422 average and a .485 on-base percentage (OBP), the team's leadoff hitter is instant offense. A first-round selection by the San Diego Padres in the MLB Draft, Jankowski is one of the fastest players I have seen in a while.
2. William Carmona, Third Base
Carmona was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 11th round and currently looks like he is almost ready for the major leagues. A former closer for the team, he has a strong arm in the field. More importantly, he is hitting everything in sight right now, with a season average at .399. He hit .524 in the Coral Gables Regional and then .500 in the Baton Rouge Super Regional. If his bat stays hot, Stony Brook could go far in the World Series.
3. Maxx Tissenbaum, Second Base
With a .389 average and a .452 OBP, Tissenbaum was also selected in the 11th round of the draft, by San Diego. In 234 at-bats this season, he has only eight strikeouts. Tissenbaum consistently makes pitchers go deep into counts and will foul off pitch after pitch. While he is not a typical clean-up hitter, knowing he puts the bat on the ball makes it impossible for teams to pitch around Carmona.
4. Pat Cantwell, Catcher
With a respectable .296 average, Cantwell has the lowest mark of Stony Brook's nine regular hitters. His .400 OBP, though, is more indicative of the type of player he is. Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 39th round, Cantwell is a great leader in the catcher position and the second spot of the batting order. Constantly advancing Jankowski for Carmona and Tissenbaum to hit him in, Cantwell hustles 100% of the time and is never an easy out. He is very fun to watch.
5. Tyler Johnson, Pitcher
Johnson's dance routine during a rain delay in Baton Rouge was enough to gain the respect of Tigers fans before he even took the mound. He was picked by the Oakland Athletics in the 33rd round of the draft and is one of the best pitchers in college baseball. Johnson has a 12-1 record with a 1.94 ERA and has thrown five complete games. He does not strike out many hitters and instead relies on the great defense playing behind him.
As an LSU fan, Mike Patton has followed NCAA baseball for more than 30 years. The College World Series is one of his favorite annual events.