Red Storm head into NCAA Tournament as Big East Champions

On Sunday May 27th the St. John's Red Storm (37-21) defeated the South Florida Bulls in the Big East Championship finals to gain an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

The 7-3 win over USF punched the third straight ticket to the Big Dance for the Storm and made sure that they weren't sweating it out on Selection Monday. Matt Carasiti pitched 6.2 innings of three run ball, scattering four hits throughout to help catapult the Storm into the postseason.

Carasiti (6-5) won the Big East Tournament MVP award after racking up two wins. Carasiti is only the 10th player in the history of the Big East to do that, over the weekend where the team went undefeated.

The freshmen of the lineup lead the attack as Zack Lauricella jacked his second home run of the season and Brett Dennis had three RBI. Those were more than enough to hold off the Bulls, along with Matt Wessinger's two hits and Frankie Schwindel's RBI.

On Monday May 28th, the Johnnies were selected to the Chapel Hill Regional as a three seed selected to face off against two seed East Carolina, the same team they opened up with last season in the Charlottesville Regional, on the first day of the double elimination regional. Last year in the NCAA Tournament the Johnnies went 1-1 vs. East Carolina as they won the first game 2-0 but ended up eliminated by the Pirates in a back and forth 6-4 final.

The Johnnies are advertising Kyle Hansen (4-5 3.44 ERA) on the mound for the 11 am start time on June 1st. ECU was awarded an at-large berth after finishing the season 35-22-1. They have most of the same players back from last year such as John Wooten (.341 8HR 37RBI), while Corey Thompson leads the team with 38 RBI.

The other teams in the regional with St. John's are the one seed and host, North Carolina, as well as Ivy League champion and four seed Cornell. The Johnnies have played the Tar Heels regularly, including an 8-4 loss on Feb. 28th. The Johnnies got into an early 8-0 hole before they battled back to make it 5-4 going into the eight before the Tar Heels scored 3 runs to put the game away.

That game was played earlier in the season though when the Johnnies were struggling to score runs. These Johnnies have found their grove at the plate and will pose more of a threat to advance then they did earlier in the season.

The Johnnies haven't played Cornell since 1978.

All the fun starts tomorrow morning for the Johnnies and will last into the weekend, the Johnnies are trying to make their first College World Series appearance since 1980 and will need to go through good teams to get there. You can follow along their progress via GameTracker on RedStormSports.com or NCAA.com.

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