OMAHA, Neb. (WFAN/AP) — South Carolina is going for three straight national titles and Florida is the No. 1 seed.
Yet all the talk at the College World Series is about Stony Brook. Now that this upstart has crashed the party, what will they do?
The Seawolves, looking to extend their rally cry of “Shock the World,” have gotten the rock-star treatment since their stunning super-regional victory at LSU and undoubtedly will be the fan favorites when they open Friday against No. 2 national seed UCLA (47-14).
“People just want to hang out with us for some reason,” center fielder Travis Jankowski said Thursday. “I don’t know why. They just love us.”
With apologies to Kent State, the Seawolves have become the feel-good story of the summer in sports.
They’re the first team from the Northeast since 1986 to make it to college baseball’s biggest stage. They’re here as a No. 4 regional seed, the lowest of the low, even though they won a nation-leading 52 games against just 13 losses. The last No. 4 to make it was Fresno State in 2008, and the Bulldogs ended up winning the national title.
While Jankowski was preparing to take batting practice during the Seawolves’ public workout, staff ace Tyler Johnson was leaning against a wall between the clubhouse and dugout participating in a photo shoot.
“Pure craziness,” Johnson told a passer-by. “I’ve never had my picture taken so many times.”
Stony Brook coach Matt Senk has told his players to enjoy their new celebrity — and then be ready to show up and play ball Friday.
“We’re looking to strike a balance,” Senk said. “Today was just amazing — the autograph session was just blowing our minds. The people of Omaha since we’ve been here have been absolutely incredible. Our attention will be turning back to baseball. They feel very good about what they’ve accomplished to this point and more than anything they don’t want to disappoint each other and not go out there and play their very best.”
The Seawolves will send Johnson (12-1) to the mound against Adam Plutko (11-3).
UCLA coach John Savage, asked if the Bruins are a bit forgotten in all the fuss about Stony Brook, said the situation reminds him of 2010 when TCU was here for the first time. The Horned Frogs were the clear hometown favorite when they played UCLA, and Savage expects the same for Stony Brook.
“We hope the stadium is filled and if everyone is pulling for them, I think that’s what college baseball is all about,” Savage said. “We’ll embrace it and go play.”
Will Stony Brook take down UCLA? Make your prediction in the comments below!
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