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St. John’s Baseball update: strong start to Big East play

The Johnnies have found their footing - and ranking - after a dramatic finish to the weekend’s games.

Wendell Cruz

After an early-season lull that saw St. John’s drop six of seven games in a row, the team has got their momentum back and is off to their best start in Big East Conference play since 2006. The win streak has St. John’s once again ranked, at #23.

The Red Storm (22-10, 6-0 Big East) swept Villanova on the road last weekend, and then did the same to Creighton this past weekend. The two conference series bookended two mid-week non-conference wins — against Albany and Iona — for the Johnnies.

As many strong hitters as this team has, this team is going as far as the pitching staff will take them.

In the Villanova series, Sean Mooney, Kevin Magee and Michael LoPresti combined to give up just three runs in over 19 innings pitched. Opposing teams haven’t been able to muster up more than three runs in a game against St. John’s in the past eight games.

The first two games of the Creighton series went according to plan for the Johnnies —give the pitchers an early lead and let the guys on the mound take it from there. But after a storm forced the teams to play in a doubleheader on Saturday, the night cap on Saturday wasn’t quite as routine.

Sean Mooney gave up just one hit in his outing on Friday, while Kevin Magee only allowed one run in his seven innings pitched in the opening game of the doubleheader. The Johnnies went onto win both of those games by scores of 6-2, and 5-1.

In the third game, both teams used stellar pitching to carry a 0-0 score into the eighth inning. Creighton scored the first run of the game in the eighth inning, however, and tacked two more on in the top half of the ninth, putting the Johnnies into a 3-0 hole with one half inning left to salvage something.

Salvage, they did, using their bench.

Mike Antico (a pinch-hitter) singled, stole a base. Luke Stampfl hit a double to put two on base. Mark Venice (pinch-hitting) got on base. A clutch hit from (pinch-hitting) Brandon Miller drove in Antico and Stampfl. Josh Shaw knocked in Venice and Miller with a single to left field to give St. John’s the win and preserve the perfect conference record.

LoPresti pitched seven and two-thirds only giving up one run to further the dominant run the Red Storm starting pitchers are currently on.

Next up

The team will take another one-game conference break when they travel out to Long Island to take on Hofstra on Wednesday. After the conference hiatus, the Johnnies will welcome Georgetown to Queens for a three-game weekend series against the Hoyas.