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St. John’s loses series to Creighton; final regular season baseball series starts tonight

The Red Storm lost to Creighton in a rubber match but remain hopeful to repeat as Big East Champs.

baseball diamond by John Liu

The Johnnies fell to 27-21 after a 2-2 week in the penultimate week of the season.

May 7, St. John’s vs. Wagner

St. John’s 6, Wagner 5 | WP: French (3-0) LP: Beyer (2-3) S: Hollowell (5)

The single game series between St. John’s and Wagner was hosted by St. John’s, who won in a late comeback.

The Storm sent nine pitchers to the mound for the game to preserve everyone for the weekend’s pivotal series against Creighton. Nick Mondak got the start for St. John’s and pitched two innings of 1-hit ball before he was pulled. The team struck out five and walked five, gave up five runs and eight hits in the game.

St. John’s struck first in the 3rd inning, but fell behind by a score of 5-1 by the middle of the 6th. The next two innings at the plate yielded five runs for St. John’s and secured the win.

Seven batters took part in the 13 hits for St. John’s, led by LF Mike Antico with three. Antico, who also had two walks, reached base in all five of his plate appearances for the game. First baseman Ryan Hogan started the scoring in the 6th with an RBI single and hit a bunt single in the 7th to score the winning run.

Wagner’s starter John LaPointe pitched four innings and conceded one run. The first 2 pitchers from the bullpen pitched three innings but conceded five runs.

May 10-12 series vs Creighton

The Red Storm travelled to Omaha over the weekend for a three-game series with big implications in Big East standings.

Game 1: St. John’s 0, Creighton 11 | WP: Ragan (7-2) LP: LaSorsa (4-5)

Joe LaSorsa got the start for the Storm and quickly fell victim to the unstoppable force that was the Creighton Blue Jays, giving up four earned runs in 3.2 innings.

As a whole, St. John’s had five different pitchers give up seven hits and nine ER, though they struck out ten Creighton batters.

The St. John’s offense was blanked by stellar pitching by Creighton. The Johnnies may have only struck out eight times, but they never saw anything materialize out of the opportunities they were presented.

Creighton’s pitching, though sublime, was dwarfed by the offense. Highlighted by a 5th inning grand slam, Creighton outhit St. John’s by a score of 8-7 and drew nine walks. All nine starters for the Blue Jays were able to reach base safely and five did so multiple times.

Game 2: St. John’s 6, Creighton 4 | WP: Belge (4-5) LP: Hull (5-4) S: Hollowell (6)

St. John’s followed up the blowout with a narrow win badly needed to stay in the race for the Big East Tournament.

St. John’s managed to survive a late push by Creighton and force a rubber match.

St. John’s was outhit by a margin of 10-7 by the Blue Jays, but this time it was the Red Storm benefitting from clutch hitting. LF Mike Antico was bumped from his usual leadoff spot for the game. That didn’t stop him from reaching base in four of his five at-bats, including three walks; he had two RBI. C Wyatt Mascarella was able to match Antico’s RBI total with a 2-run home run to open up the scoring in the 3rd inning.

Jeff Belge started the game for the Johnnies, providing some of his best work of the season in a critical point of the season. Belge give up one run in five innings of work. He conceded two hits and six walks, but managed runners on well to keep St. John’s in it. Gavin Hollowell recorded a three-inning save with six strikeouts and one walk to close out the game.

Creighton faced much more resistance from St. John’s in Game two, finding it difficult to capitalize on base runners like they had the day before. The Blue Jays’ pitching gave up six ER on the day that all came on extra base hits with runners in scoring position.

Game 3: St. John’s 2, Creighton 4 | WP: Johnson (7-2) LP: Mondak (1-2) S: Kametas (7)

For the 4th time all season, St. John’s had to play in a rubber match against a Big East opponent, going 2-1 in the previous three. Game three of the series proved to be as close as Game two, but with the opposite outcome.

Five players got six hits for St. John’s, led by RF Peter Abinanti with a pair. The highlight of the game for the offense came in the 7th inning, where C Wyatt Mascarella hit a 2-run home run for the second straight game.

Nick Mondak pitched 5.2 innings in his start and conceded all four runs that Creighton scored. Ian Murphy came out of the bullpen to provide some stability, which gave St. John’s a chance until the final out.

Though they didn’t win on a blowout like they did in the first game, the Blue Jays scored their runs in a similar fashion. St. John’s wild pitches and Creighton plate discipline ended up being the deciding factors in the third game of the series.

St. John’s fell to 4th out of seven Big East baseball teams with a 6-9 record in the conference. Though winning the Big East regular season is mathematically out of question for St. John’s, a Big East tournament berth is certain.

Coming up

The Storm sit 4 games ahead of 5th place Butler and three games behind 3rd place Seton Hall.

The Storm can move up to the 3rd seed with a sweep that would demote Seton Hall to 4th on a tiebreaker.

If Seton Hall wins a game, the tournament field is set with the Storm at 4th, Seton Hall at 3rd, and Creighton and Xavier fighting for the top seed.

All three games of the final series of the season will be broadcast on national TV. Game One will be on Fox Sports 1, Game Two on Big East Digital Network, and Game Three on CBS Sports Network.