Stony Brook vs. UCLA: Players to Watch in Most Intriguing First-Round Matchup

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJune 13, 2012

Courtesy of nydailynews.com
Courtesy of nydailynews.com

At the risk of sounding cliche, it's David vs. Goliath. 

Stony Brook is the Cinderella small program from the America East Conference that isn't supposed to be here. UCLA is Pac-12 powerhouse from the sunny state of California that is ranked No. 1 in the country (or least top five, depending on where you look). 

And they meet in the first round of the College World Series in what is easily the most intriguing match on Friday or Saturday.

Here's a look at the players you should pay attention to for this important battle. 

Travis Jankowski, CF, Stony Brook

It's tough to find a better leadoff hitter than Travis Jankowski. 

The talented junior who was just drafted No. 44 overall by the San Diego Padres (Stony Brook's first ever first-round pick) has absolutely dominated college baseball this season. 

He is hitting .442 with a .485 on-base percentage and 36 steals. He's racked up 18 doubles, 11 triples and has scored an amazing 78 runs. Having a table-setter like Jankowski, who is virtually a lock to be on base multiple times per game, makes the Seawolves very dangerous on offense. 

Jankowski didn't take a step back in the big games, either. 

In Stony Brook's CWS-clinching victory over LSU, he collected four hits, a double and scored twice. You should expect to see him all over the basepaths on Friday night. 

Jeff Gelalich, RF, UCLA

While Jankowski is an impressive leadoff hitter, Gelalich, UCLA's best hitter, contributes in a different way.

He is the Bruins' cleanup hitter, and a good one at that. 

In 61 games for the Bruins this year, Gelalich, who was just drafted by the Reds with the 57th pick, hit .365 with 11 home runs, 46 RBI and an impressive .558 slugging percentage. 

What's more, he had two home runs against Creighton and was named the most outstanding player of the Los Angeles regional, where he hit .454 and drove in seven runs in just three games. 

William Carmona, 3B, Stony Brook

If you're looking for some serious power, and Gelalich isn't enough for you, look no further than William Carmona.

Courtesy of newsday.com
Courtesy of newsday.com

The switch-hitting third baseman hit .399 this season with 12 home runs, 25 doubles and seven triples on his way to a slugging percentage of .702.

Yes, .702.

Combine that with Jankowski's .636 slugging percentage, and Stony Brook has one of the most impressive hitting duos in this tournament. 

The 11th-round pick of the Phillies sometimes struggles, but he will turn a few heads at the plate. He was named to the All-American third team, and rightfully so. 


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