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St. John's baseball home to Butler - preview

The Red Storm men will be on television three times this weekend.

The St. John’s baseball team takes over the airwaves this weekend as they start a three-game series at home this afternoon with their new Big East foes, the Butler Bulldogs. ESPN3 broadcasts games today and Sunday; Fox Sports 2 shows Saturday’s contest. Former Red Storm pitcher C.J. Nitkowski will provide the color commentary on Fox Sports 2.

About the actual series:

This is the first ever-meeting between the two schools. While Butler is 14-17, they hold a 2-1 record in the conference and are tied for second place with Villanova as both trail Xavier at 3-0. The Wildcats won two of three games from St. John’s (17-13, 1-2) last weekend to start the Big East portion of the schedule.

Butler has several players St. John’s will need to be wary of this weekend.

Chris Maranto leads the team with a .346 average with six doubles and shares the team lead with 15 RBI. Marcos Calderon is the other Bulldog with 15 RBI to go along with a team-high 25 runs scored. Quincy Quintero has a team-high nine doubles.

Butler’s pitching staff leaves much to be desired this year with a 5.56 ERA and opponents are hitting .305. The Bulldogs’ starter on Sunday, Eric Stout, has an 8.19 ERA. He’ll oppose Chris Kalica, who is 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA.

The Red Storm continue to play well after they struggled to a 1-6. The team hit just .177 during that stretch and the pitching staff posted a 5.90 ERA. Since then, St. John’s is 16-7 with a .298 batting average and 3.83 ERA. Five runs appears to be the magic mark for the Johnnies as they are 17-4 this year when they hold opponents to or below that number.

St. John’s is at the top or near the top in a few key offensive categories. They lead the conference with a .375 on-base percentage and are third in batting average (.272) and slugging percentage (.353).

For St. John’s, junior shortstop Jarred Mederos is coming off a five-game stretch that earned him Big East Player of the Week honors.

Mederos batted .417 (8-for-17) with three multi-hit games, a pair of multi-RBI games and five runs scored as St. John’s went 3-2 during that stretch. He also had one double and one home run to post a .706 slugging percentage, and drew four walks to add a .571 on-base percentage. In three conference games against Villanova last weekend, the shortstop batted .600 (6-for-10) with five RBI and a .700 slugging percentage as well as a .692 on-base percentage. Mederos went 3-for-3 with three RBI, a double and two runs scored in the finale, a 6-5 loss.

Today’s game starts at 3 p.m. followed by Saturday’s 2 p.m. start. Sunday’s finale is at 1 p.m.