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Johnnies swept by UNC Charlotte; Presbyterian game cancelled

The Johnnies were unable to leave the Carolinas with a win after losing 3 games in Charlotte and the next rained out.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays-Workouts Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

St. John’s baseball moves to 3-6 on the season as they fly back west to wrap up their annual non-conference road trip to begin the season.

The final series will be a 3-game weekend set against the Rebels of UNLV. Following the series, the Johnnies will play host (for the first time all season) against the Saint Peter’s Peacocks and the Iona Gaels on Tuesday the 10th and Wednesday the 11th, respectively.

Though UNLV is 3-8 this season, the quest to reach .500 can be concluded by the end of a weekend with a not-so-easy sweep of the Rebels. The Rebels are highlighted by newly acquired JUCO C Eric Bigani, who has hit .356 11 games into the season and helped the team to a series win over fellow Big East opponent, Creighton.

Historically, Saint Peter’s offers an opportunity for the Johnnies to pick up steam after the UNLV series. The Johnnies are 7-1 all-time against the Peacocks and haven’t lost in 3 meetings.

The next day, the Johnnies will look to defeat the Iona Gaels who, like Saint Peters, have been historically weak relative to St. John’s. The Gaels have only two wins in an all-time series spanning 18 years and 21 games. The Gaels have not beaten St. John’s since May 2013, 10 games ago.

Last weekend, the Johnnies succumbed to the strengths of the UNC Charlotte 49ers and got swept in a 3 game series.

February 28, 2020: St. John’s 1, UNC Charlotte 5 | WP: McGowan (2-1) LP: Mondak (0-2) S: Bruce (2)

UNC Charlotte struck early in game one, scoring all five of their runs in the first four innings of game.

Nick Mondak got his third start and second loss of the season in five innings of work. Charlotte tested St. John’s early; the leadoff batter walked on a full count, stole second, and advanced to 3rd. Mondak escaped the a 1st and 3rd jam in that inning, but fell in the second inning, giving up three runs on three hits, three wild pitches, a walk and a steal.

The final two runs from UNCC came courtesy of a Sean McGeehan error in left field allowing a single to turn to a double and score a run and put a runner in scoring position to score later.

Mondak’s outing ended an inning later. Sonny Fauci came on for the final three innings of ball. Fauci went 1-2-3 in his first two innings and gave up two baserunners and no runs in his final inning.

The Johnnies struggled to produce offense. The team totaled only four hits and four walks. The sole run was scored by 1B Ryan Markey who led the team with two hits and three total bases, and scored on a single from DH Ryan Hogan in the 5th.

The 49ers were able to share the wealth amongst the lineup, accumulating six hits by five players, and drew seven walks — eight players to reach base. Bryce McGowan and Colby Bruce combined for all 27 outs pitching for UNCC. Together, the duo gave up three hits, one run, four walks, and eight strikeouts.

February 29, 2020: St. John’s 5, UNC Charlotte 6 | WP: Boss (2-0) LP: Routzahn (0-1)

The Johnnies rallied late to tie the game but lost on a blown hold in the bottom of the 9th inning.

The Johnnies were able to bounce back after trailing 3-0 after the first, scoring two runs in the top of the 2nd. The runs came courtesy of 3B Justin Folz’s first home run of the season. The home run was one of Folz’s team-leading two hits on the day. Failing to score from the middle of the 2nd inning until the 9th inning, the Johnnies entered the final frame down 5-2.

Joe Joe Rodriguez got the start for the Johnnies and gave up five runs (four earned) in five innings of work. Rodriguez struck out three, walked five, and gave up four hits on 97 pitches. Geoff Mosseau relieved Rodriguez from the 6th inning until the end of the 8th. Mosseau faced 14 batters, walking four, striking out three, and allowing one hit and 0 runs to give the Johnnies a chance in the 9th.

The 9th inning saw a rally, based around Charlotte miscues, that netted the Johnnies three runs and a 5-5 tie. With bases loaded, a HBP on Colin Wetterau and sac-fly from Ryan Hogan provided the first two runs. With 2-outs, last season’s star OF Mike Antico drew a bases loaded walk on four pitches to knot the game up at five.

After inheriting a tie game in the bottom of the 9th, Ethan Routzahn entered the game to try and send it to extras. Routzahn was faced with runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out in the 9th. An intentional walk loaded the bases; and a 6-4-3 play came up short, and Charlotte walked off with a win when the throw to 1st was not in time.

The 49ers scored six runs on six hits in the second game of the series to lock up a series win.

March 1, 2020: St. John’s 8, UNC Charlotte 10 | WP: Roach (2-1) LP: Murphy (1-1)

The middle innings proved to be the Achilles heel for the Storm in the final game against UNCC.

The game began with the Johnnies in the lead over the first three innings as they led 2-0 and had allowed only two base runners. The first run came in the first inning as C Mitchell Henshaw scored on a groundout back to the mound. 2B Carson Bartels was able to score unearned on the play thanks to an error earlier in the inning. LF Sean McGeehan singled in the 3rd allowing CF Mike Antico to score after a single of his own and a steal of 2nd.

Ian Murphy got his third start of the season and held up well through the first three innings. Murphy was pulled after 4.2 innings having given up five runs (1 earned), three hits, and four walks.

Dominic Coombe, Brandyn Cruz, and Chris Stefl came in to finish the game for the Johnnies. The trio gave up three hits and five runs (all earned) to help UNCC put the icing on the cake.

The Charlotte 49ers were in the lead and extended the advantage to 10-2 by the 6th inning.

St. John’s battled back. 1B Ryan Markey hit a solo shot in the 7th inning and McGeehan and Antico both collected an RBI single in each of the 7th and 8th innings. The duo combined to go for 7-for-9 with three runs scored, five RBI, and a walk.

The 49ers were able to win the game on patience as they drew nine walks and an HBP. Aggressive baserunning contributed to their successes as three St. John’s errors to turn into four runs.

March 2, 2020: cancelled

The St. John’s game scheduled at Presbyterian College was cancelled due to rain. The Johnnies end the week at 3-6 moving on to UNLV this weekend.