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St. John’s baseball starts on the Red Storm road to Omaha

St. John’s aims to Storm their way into the College World Series

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Lefty Joe LaSorsa
Wendell Cruz

The St. John’s Red Storm baseball team has won the Big East and are in contention to make a College World Series appearance, but first, they need to win their regional, which starts today at noon.

The Red Storm will play in the Clemson four-team regional, with opponents #6 Clemson, #25 Vanderbilt and Morehead State; St. John’s is the third seed in that tough regional. Can the Red Storm’s talented pitching and hitting pull off an upset and advance the Johnnies to the Super Regional against the winners of the Tallahassee/ Florida State bracket?

The Red Storm finished 39-15 overall and 15-3 in conference, but step up in talent class as they head south to face perennially strong SEC and ACC teams. For more on their opponents, see the NCAA’s regional preview and superlatives.

How to Watch

St. John’s first game will be against #25 Vanderbilt (31-25).

When: Noon Friday

TV: SEC Network | Online

Live stats

NCAA Baseball College World Series bracket

Roster Highlights

Pitching has carried this St. John’s team to the postseason, as they have a collective 2.95 ERA good for fourth nationally.

The Red Storm pitching staff in anchored by a triple-headed monster of Senior Kevin Magee (2.48 ERA) and Sophomores Jeff Belge (2.51 ERA) and Sean Mooney (2.52 ERA). All three pitchers rank in the top 75 nationally in ERA, ranking 67th, 74th, and 75th, respectively. Beyond those three pitchers, St. John’s also offers Michael LoPresti offering a more-than respectable 3.05 ERA.

Jamie Galazin gets congratulations while rounding the bases.
Wendell Cruz

While the Red Storm pitching staff has been excellent, the offense has also been sure to do their part. St. John’s ranks 23rd nationally in batting average posting a .297 batting average collectively.

The Red Storm lineup features senior infielder John Valente, who, in 222 at bats, collected 79 hits — good for a .356 batting average (92nd nationally).

Additionally, the lineup includes junior catcher Wyatt Mascarella (.333 BA) and senior infielder Luke Stampfl (.333 BA). Junior Josh Shaw plated 43 runs to lead the Red Storm despite hitting only one home run. Senior Jamie Galazin knocked in 42 runs for second place on the team with 14 doubles.

Big East Tournament

Unlike in basketball, the Big East Baseball Tournament is double elimination tournament where only the top four teams (1. St. John’s, 2. Seton Hall, 3. Butler, and 4. Georgetown) play and are eliminated after losing two games.

The Red Storm opened the tournament against 4-seed Georgetown. After giving up two runs early, the Red Storm were able to come back and beat Georgetown 5-2.

Next, St. John’s played Butler, who had just beat Seton Hall 2-1 in a 13-inning game. St. John’s got out to an early 12-2 lead through 6, however Butler was able to make it interesting losing 12-8.

To win the tournament, St. John’s had to face their foes from across the Hudson, Seton Hall in a doubleheader. The first game between the two ended in an ugly blowout with Seton Hall winning 19-2. However, later that afternoon in Game 2, Belge pitched eight scoreless innings and junior second baseman Josh Shaw went 3-for-3 with two runs and four RBIs to help St. John’s to a 7-0 over Seton Hall to clinch the Big East Title.

Path to Omaha

Josh Shaw makes a throw in the infield
Wendell Cruz

St. John’s has to win its regional tournament in order to make it to the next round. Like the Big East Baseball Tournament, each regional tournament is a double elimination tournament.

One-seed Clemson is the host for the region St. John’s will be participating in. The region also include Vanderbilt as the 2-seed, and Morehead State as the 4-seed.

If St. John’s is able to avoid losing two games in the Regional Tournament, they will move on to the 16-Team Super-Regional Tournament. In the Super-Regional Tournament, the format changes to a best-of-three series between two Regional Tournament champions.

The winners of these series play the following weekend at the College World Series at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska.

The format of the College World Series shifts, again, into two double-elimination tournaments (one for each bracket), with the winner of each advancing to a best-of-three championship series, similar to the regional and super-regional rounds.

The within-bracket games alternate daily between brackets 1 and 2 through the first 6 days.