Behind 28 dominant innings from the St. John’s pitching staff, the Red Storm opened up their 2018 season with a hard-earned series sweep over the Campbell Camels in North Carolina.
The first two games of the series were pitcher’s duels with the final scores of 3-1 and 1-0 (F/10). It took until the final game of the weekend series for the Johnnies’ bats to wake up, as they closed out Campbell with a 7-1 win.
In the opening game, Sean Mooney only lasted 5 innings, but don’t let the shortened outing fool you—he picked up right where he left off after last year’s dominant season. In those five innings, he only allowed three base-runners (2 hits, 1 walk) and struck out eight in the process.
The middle game between the two teams was a struggle. Kevin Magee struck out 11 batters, but the Red Storm could not get a run to take the win in nine innings. After heading to extra innings tied at 0-0, it took an Anthony Brocato sacrifice fly to drive in Jamie Galazin for the game’s only run.
In all three games, the St. John’s bullpen shut down the Fighting Camels. In the first game, Jeff Belge and Gavin Hollowell combined for three innings of scoreless relief.
After Kevin Magee’s performance in the second game, Joe Kelly entered and struck out seven himself. Kelly didn’t allow a baserunner in his relief appearance until a two-out single in the bottom of the tenth. The combined performances from Magee and Kelly were the most strikeouts by the Red Storm staff since 2010.
The strong relief outing continued in the series finale on Sunday. Michael LoPresti threw six strong innings to start. Sophomore left-hander Joe LaSorsa stepped in and allowed no hits in three innings, giving him his first save of the season.
Behind the plate, St. John’s had done just enough to squeak by in the first two games, but they came alive on Sunday afternoon. Credit the Camels’ pitching staff for causing the offensive struggles. They held standout Campbell second baseman Josh Shaw to just three hits in 14 plate appearances.
They used a four-run fourth inning to propel themselves to the 7-1 victory. Jamie Galazin led the way with three hits and two runs scored. Luke Stampfl, the graudate transfer from Fordham, drove in two runs.
Sweep complete! #SJUBase takes three from Campbell and surrenders just two runs over the course of the weekend. pic.twitter.com/6gSKtr1itb— St. John's Baseball (@StJohnsBaseball) February 18, 2018
Through three games, Stampfl has enjoyed immediate success behind the plate. Replacing Jesse Berardi at shortstop is no small task, but Stampfl amassed a .429 average and didn’t make in error in the series.
Jamie Galazin got off to the hottest start of any Red Storm player, batting .538 and leading the team with three runs scored. The pacey centerfielder successfully stole two bases, as Ed Blankmeyer’s aggressive style bled through during the series. The Johnnies were 7-for-8 stealing bases to open up the season.
St. John’s will stay down in North Carolina until Wednesday when they travel to Chapel Hill for a rematch with the North Carolina Tar Heels. Last season, St. John’s knocked off UNC, who was ranked #5 at the time, 5-4.