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Johnnies to the Carolinas on road trip; back at .500

The Johnnies ride momentum from a 2-1 series win to Charlotte next weekend.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Four-Arizona State Sun Devils vs St. John’s Red Storm Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Storm baseball team (3-3 on the season) travels to North Carolina to face the Charlotte 49ers for a series starting this afternoon; they will remain in the area to play the Presbyterian Blue Hose for a single game.

Now at an even .500, the Johnnies look to build on their momentum in the Carolinas. The UNC-Charlotte squad is 5-4 on the season, with four wins over UMBC and a win over VCU, to go with losses to UNC Greensboro, VCU (twice) and Tennessee. The 49ers have gotten excellent pitching from pitcher Andrew Roach, who has an 0.90 ERA and 14 strikeouts, and hitting from freshman outfielder Dominic Pilolli, hitting .514 with two stolen bases.

Live stats for the Charlotte games can be found on their stats page; audio for the game can be found on Conference USA’s media page.

Presbyterian, 2-6 going into tonight’s weekend series against visiting Notre Dame, has a senior outfielder named Zacchaeus Rasberry who has stolen seven bases in their eight games; he is fifth nationally, and five stolen bases from the school record. Pitcher Eric Miles joins Rasberry on the preseason All-Big South preseason team from Perfect Game.

Last weekend, the Johnnies were able to win their first series of the year after they took 2 games from the University of California Bears in Berkeley, California. Freshman Jake Lazzaro and Junior Joe Joe Rodriguez were named Big East Freshman of the Week and Big East Honor Roll respectively.

February 21, 2020

St. John’s 10, California 6 | WP: Backman (1-0) LP: Stoutenb (0-1)

The Johnnies moved to .500 on the season with the opening victory at Evans Diamond, Cal’s home field

Senior Nick Mondak got his second start of the year and gave up five hits, five walks, and delivered five strikeouts in his 4-inning outing. Mondak conceded 2 ER, but left the game after the 4th with a 4-0 lead thanks to a hit-happy offense.

Freshman Dominic Coombe and Junior Chris Stefl came in for relief appearances (1.2 innings for Coombe and zero outs recorded for Stefl) and gave up four runs combined. Eventual winning pitcher Brandon Backman came in for the Johnnies and pitched 2.1 innings of near perfect ball, striking out four, walking one, and giving up no hits.

The Johnny bats were on fire, recording 12 hits and scoring in six of nine innings over game one. Catcher Mitchell Henshaw had the first big game of a big weekend as he went 2-5 with an RBI and run scored. Second baseman Carson Bartels, LF Sean McGeehan and 1B Ryan Markey all joined Henshaw with multiple hits in Game 1. Hogan, a Redshirt Junior, also launched a 2-run home run to left field in the 9th to put the game on ice.

Though Cal was outhit by 5 and trailed 7-5 after 6.5 innings, the Golden Bears showed no quit. The team had 5 players get a hit and 7 reach base, and on the other side of the ball, they struck out St. John’s 10 times and forced 9 runners to be stranded on base. Once the Johnnies pulled away in the 7th inning, Cal batters went 1/8 with a walk, single, sac bunt, and groundball double play over the final 3 innings.

February 22, 2020

St. John’s 3, California 1 | WP: Rodriguez(1-1) LP: Holman (0-2) S: Routzahn (1)

The Johnnies secured their first series win in a defensive game two.

Down 1-0 after the first inning, the Johnnies were able to prevail in a defensive battle. The first of the Johnnies’ runs was scored in rather unique fashion as Cal struck out C Colin Wetterau and tried to throw out 1B Ryan Markey who made a mad dash to steal second. Markey was ruled safe and SS Jake Lazzaro stole home during the throw and tag at second base.

Later runs came in a more traditional fashion in the 6th inning. Junior 3B Justin Folz scored from second base on a Mitchell Henshaw double. Henshaw scored 2 at-bats later when CF Sean McGeehan doubled to center field, making the score 3-1 Johnnies.

In his second appearance as a Johnny, Joe Joe Rodriguez pitched six innings, nearly flawless after his 1st inning ER. Rodriguez gave up five walks to two strikeouts and only 1 hit. Rodriguez went 1-2-3 three times during his start and had another two innings fall short of that by a walk or wild pitch.

In relief, Geoff Mosseau (2.0 innings) and Ethan Routzahn (one inning) combined for three hits, a walk, a strikeout, and no runs given up, getting Rodriguez his first Division 1 win.

Like the Johnnies, the Golden Bears used only three pitchers during the game and didn’t have much success on offense. The team failed to capitalize on the gem from the pitching staff and failed to score in the final 8 innings.

February 23, 2020

St. John’s 7, California 11 | WP: King (1-0) LP: Lajoie (0-1)

Despite a slow start, Game three provided the most fireworks in a game this series.

Ian Murphy registered 4.1 innings in his second star of the season. His day started off well but was blown to pieces in the 3rd inning when he gave up a solo home run, two walks, a sac-bunt, and an RBI single in a span of six batters. He got out of the jam that inning having only conceded two runs and pitched into the 5th inning where he gave up yet another solo home run and RBI single, bringing his total for the day to four ER. He posted three walks and three strikeouts before he was pulled for Brian Hendry.

Hendry piloted the bullpen and gave 1.2 innings of work conceding one hit and no other baserunners. Freshman Josh Lajoie did gave up four ER on four hits in his 2-out outing. The four runs conceded came from a three-run home run launched in the 8th inning followed by an RBI single scoring a runner he had allowed on base.

The Johnnies put up seven runs on seven hits on the opposite side of the ball, but were unable to win as they got outhit 15-7. The 4-7 hitters for St. John’s did much of the carrying in game three as the quad combined posted a combined 6-16, six runs scored, two RBI, and a walk.