The same team the St. John's Red Storm baseball team beat 12-2 in the opening round of the Big East Tournament is back for another try. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish knocked out Rutgers and Seton Hall in elimination games for them to get to meet the Red Storm again for a shot at the Big East baseball championship in Clearwater, Florida.
The game starts at 10 a.m. Eastern time, and can be streamed on the Big East's Baseball Championship site.
On Thursday May 24th, Sean Hagan (8-2, 2.58) took the hill and helped the Johnnies defeat Seton Hall 6-3 after throwing 7.1 innings of two run ball. Hagan has been the Johnnies' best pitcher this season and continued his dominance. The Johnnies staked Hagan out to a 6-0 lead early behind a 3-for-4, 2 RBI performance from Jimmy Brennan and were able to hang on. Brennan had been slumping the entire year and found himself out of the starting lineup for most of the season.
As for the Irish, they will have to win twice on Saturday to move to the finals on Sunday. If the Irish beat the Red Storm at 10 a.m. they will have to play again at 5 p.m. to determine who will go on to compete for an automatic bid to the to the NCAA Tournament.
Number one seed Louisville was eliminated on Friday after they lost to Connecticut and South Florida. St. John's is the highest seed remaining and if they make it to the Big East championship game could be in prime position for an at-large berth.
Connecticut and USF will play in the other semi-final match up where USF will have to win twice like the Irish to make the finals.
The probable starter for St. John's is highly touted draft prospect Kyle Hansen (3-5, 3.65 ERA). Early in the season, Hansen was a hard luck loser starting off the season with a poor record while pitching well. Hansen is still the staff ace and strikeout specialist; the Johnnies are hopefully he can take them to the title game.
Other possible starters for the Johnnies are Brendan Lobban (5-3, 3.51) and Eddie Medina (3-2, 5.06) who both started some games this year. Medina started the year strong but has been relegated mostly to bullpen work towards the end of the season. Lobban was mainly the starter for mid-week games and is available for some bullpen work if needed.
St. John's hopes to return to the NCAA Regionals - and Notre Dame stands in the way.
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