Well it's that time of year again. The field of 64 is set and the road to Omaha once again winds its way through Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. This weekend's tournament will feature four teams and this week we'll be previewing all of them leading up to start of the action on Friday. Stony Brook University hails from just outside of New York City and the Seawolves are making the 1,700 mile journey to Texas after compiling a 34-13-1 record and claiming the America East regular season and conference tournament championships.
If the name Stony Brook sounds familiar, that might be because of their recent run to Omaha in 2012. In that 2012 regional, Stony Brook was a four-seed. They defeated Miami (FL) and then won three consecutive elimination games to take the Coral Gables Regional. Then in the super regional, Stony Brook knocked off six-time national champion LSU in Baton Rouge to advance to the College World Series.
Stony Brook is led by head coach Matt Senk. In Senk's 24 year tenure, Stony Brook has a record of 683-443-3 (.606), 19 winning seasons, three regular season championships, four conference tournament titles, four NCAA Tournament appearances and the aforementioned College World Series run. Suffice to say, Stony Brook has a little bit of history behind their program and has shown that they have the potential to come into the tournament as a lower seed and play the role of spoiler.
Pitching Comparison (Rank out of 301 D1 Schools)
|Stony Brook||4.09 (111)||8.4 (58)||7.3 (118)||4.1 (189)||1.8:1 (159)|
|TCU||2.33 (2)||7.4 (6)||8.4 (26)||2.1 (5)||4:1 (2)|
TCU holds the advantage over Stony Brook in all of the pitching statistics shown in the table above. As Frog fans we are a little bit spoiled with pitching. Watching a team with as deep a pitching staff as we have can make you forget that most teams in college baseball don't have the luxury of four reliable starters that could basically be switched around on a whim without much of a considerable drop off in production. Stony Brook is one of the teams that does not have this luxury.
The Seawolves' best pitcher is probably Daniel Zamora. Zamora sports a 7-2 record and has recorded 76 strike-outs in 74.1 innings pitched. While he did offer up 35 walks, he has compiled a 3.03 ERA. Tyler Honahan is Stony Brook's number two guy, also coming up with a 7-2 record with 64 strike-outs, 33 walks and an ERA of 3.98 in 72.1 innings pitched. After that there is not another established starter, but the Seawolves do have a pretty salty guy to finish games in closer Cameron Stone. Stone has 6 saves in 15 appearances with 32 strike-outs, 8 walks and an ERA of 0.72 in 25 innings pitched.
It's also worth mentioning that Stony Brook is very good defensively. They are currently fielding at a .978 clip, good for 10th in the nation. How does TCU stack up to that you ask? Well that's where it gets interesting. The Frogs are also fielding .978 and are ranked 11th nationally, right behind Stony Brook.
Hitting Comparison (Rank out of 301 D1 Schools)
|Stony Brook||6.3 (54)||.295 (40)||.391 (18)||.388 (130)|
|TCU||5.8 (95)||.287 (75)||.366 (94)||.372 (185)|
If Stony Brook has any hope of winning this weekend's regional it looks like they will have to do it with their bats. Unlike their pitching staff, the Seawolves' get the better of TCU in all of the offensive categories in the table above. Jack Parenty is their lead-off hitter and could be categorized as their version of Cody Jones, minus the Big XII player of the year honors. Parenty is batting .359 / .425 / .525 and is 17-20 in steal attempts, the most on the team. After him there are 5 other hitters in the line up who are all hitting over .300, including Cole Peragine, who has a ridiculous 47 walks in 187 at bats. The other offensive stat that really pops for this team is that they have hit 29 triples this year. They are not even in the top 200 nationally in doubles or home runs, but they rank second nationally in triples. I'm not even sure how that happens, but it is impressive.
It's shaping up to be an exciting weekend at Lupton. I'm looking forward to being there to cheer on the team and I know the crowd and the atmosphere will not disappoint. Let's be friendly, sportsmanlike, LOUD and give these teams a great big Fort Worth howdy. After all, if they are lucky, they'll be back someday. As visitors may or may not know, Fort Worth has long been famous for the Chisolm Trail, which Cowboys used to move their cattle North for sale. These days however, in the college baseball landscape, it is becoming well known for another trail: The Road to Omaha.
*Stats via stonybrookathletics.com, gofrogs.com, warrennolan.com and ncaa.org