Even with the loss to the Seton Hall Pirates in the Big East Tournament's championship game on Sunday, the Red Storm have made the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid. This is the 33rd appearance in the NCAA tournament for the Storm and their fourth trip in the past five years.
The Red Storm are the #3 seed in the Charlottesville Regional, hosted by national #1 seeded Virginia. The bracket also includes East Carolina - St. John's first opponent - and Navy.
St. John's was in the Charlottesville Regional last season in the NCAA tournament losing a heart breaker to Virginia, coming a game away from the Super Regional against Oklahoma.
The Johnnies take the field Friday June 3rd at 6pm against ECU, which can be seen on NCAA.com. Read up on the Red Storm's tourney draw and more, below.
The Charlottesville Region is a tough draw for St. John's; they will have to go through the overall number 1 team in the country and a great at-large team in the East Carolina Pirates. ECU has an amazing team ERA of 2.58 and lead by senior pitcher Seth Maness (9-3, 1.88).
ECU junior catcher Zach Wright had 13 HR and 39 RBI on the year to lead the Pirates at the plate. Another problem for St. John's pitchers in Game 1 will be Trent Whitehead, a senior outfielder. Whitehead lead the team with a .332 batting average, 20 doubles and 16 stolen basses in 22 attempts. The Johnnies will have to keep him off the base paths if they want to win.
The NCAA regional setup
The NCAA regional round of play is a double elimination round robin style part of the tournament. The winners of the 16 regionals move onto the Super Regionals which are a Best of 3 series. The 8 winners of the Super Regionals go to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska in the brand new TD Ameritrade Park.
The Red Storm haven't been to Omaha since 1980 and hope to end the drought this year with a very good team. The Storm are led by three All-Big East first teamers, super Sophomore Jeremy Baltz (.312 6 HR 58 RBI), junior shortstop Joe Panik (.402 9 HR 56 RBI) and ace pitcher Kyle Hansen (8-6 2.70). Third team All-Big East player and all time St. John's hit king Paul Karmas (.319 5 HR 40 RBI) is also a force to be reckoned with.
With a solid up and down lineup that can hit and good starting pitching the Johnnies are ready for a run in the tournament. Will last year's loss to Virginia in the same regional push the team to finally get over the hump? We will find out this Friday.
Check out the interactive tournament bracket and follow along St. John's ride to Omaha.
How the Red Storm lost, despite outhitting the Pirates
The Red Storm left 13 runners on base and couldn't get the timely hitting they needed to repeat as Big East champions losing 4-2 to Seton Hall.
St. John's (35-20) played hard but wasn't able to crack through Seton Hall starter Joe DiRocco (8-1) and the Pirates bullpen. DiRocco tossed six innings of 1 run ball and shut down the Storm on two bases loaded opportunities.
Kyle Hansen (8-6) went 5 innings and allowed 4 runs, 3 earned taking the loss. The Pirates were able to take a 4-1 on a infield single in the fifth on an errant throw from shortstop Joe Panik. Matt Carasiti threw 2.2 innings of hit less relief - retiring 8 straight at one point to keep the Johnnies in the game.
Paul Karmas was 2-4 - breaking the St. John's all time hit record with 245 career hits. Jeremy Baltz was 3-4 with a walk while Rowan Wick had a pinch hit RBI.
St. John's tried to rally in the ninth inning. Panik hit a one out double and Baltz had a two out walk. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third with two outs and Robert Case at bat. Matt Harvey induced a ground ball to end the game and notch his seventh save.
Seton Hall (33-23) won its third Big East Championship and their first since 2001.