With spring sports just starting to get underway, #25 St. John’s get their first action of the season this weekend when they head down to North Carolina for a three game series against Campbell College.
The Johnnies already have their first win, a 3-1 game where Sean Mooney earned his forst win of the season.
St. John’s is coming off a 42-13 season that saw them make their 36th trip to the NCAA tournament, before losing in the NCAA Regionals to UNC-Greensboro and Vanderbilt.
The Camels are coming off a sub .500 season, where they finished 25-32 and 10-14 in the conference. However, expectations for the team are higher this season with 24 returning players, including Matthew Barefoot and Jeff Hahs, who were both named to their conference’s second team last season.
As a redshirt freshman, Barefoot led the team with an average of .335 and was second on the team with a slugging percentage of .537. Barefoot primarily plays in the outfield, but is also sparingly used as a pitcher.
Hahs is the other big hitter than the Red Storm staff needs to be aware of. He led the team with a slugging percentage with .552, while knocking 10 home runs.
In 2017, both Campbell and St. John’s had a few common opponents. Both team lost to East Carolina (Campbell lost to the Pirates twice) and North Carolina (Campbell lost 7-1 and St. John’s beat the Tar Heels 5-4). St. John’s also had a three game series against Liberty, a conference rival of Campbell. St. John’s went 2-1 on the road against Liberty, while the Camels went 1-2.
A season ago, St. John’s was an excellent road team, while Campbell was so-so at home. The Red Storm finished 13-5 away from Jack Kaiser Stadium while the Camels struggled to defend their home field, going 14-16.
Despite losing Troy Dixon, Jesse Berardi, and a few others, St. John’s should be able to take care of business. They return a lot of firepower in John Valente, Josh Shaw, and Anthony Brocato, and have a pitching rotation, led by Sean Mooney, that should be at least among the conference’s best.
However, with another matchup against North Carolina set for February 21, St. John’s must focus on Campbell before prepping for the Tar Heels.
On Friday, first pitch is set for 4:00 p.m, Saturday’s is set for 3:00 p.m., and Sunday’s is set for 1:00 p.m.