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Red Storm baseball falls to 1-6, #1 North Carolina next

The Red Storm have faced a formidable opening-season slate, playing southern teams in warmer climes. The wins haven't come for the young team, and the challenges continue.

Mark Dolejs, USA Today Sports

After starting the season 0-4, St. John's looked to bounce back in their three-game set against ranked ACC foe Georgia Tech.

It became an offensive affair this past weekend between St. John's (1-6) and No. 20 Georgia Tech (6-1). But the Red Storm were unable to keep their bats at pace with the hot Yellow Jackets, getting outscored 20-12 in their three-game series.

In game one, both teams connected for seven total hits with Georgia Tech coming away with a 3-2 walk-off winner.

Georgia Tech's Mott Hyde hit a ground ball to Red Storm short stop Dustin Breshears, who was unable to make a clean throw to 1st base, resulting in Hyde advancing to 2nd base. A bunt moved Hyde over to 3rd base and then came home thanks to a Dylan Dore single up the right field line.

Game two featured a more offensive game with St. John's winning 9-7. Frank Schwindel kicked things off in the fourth inning with a three-run home run but the lead wouldn't last long as the Yellow Jackets scored three runs in the bottom of the frame.

In the fifth, the Red Storm would retake the lead 4-3 on a Martin Kelly two-out RBI double.

St. John's would hold a one run lead heading into the top of the seventh inning before Bret Dennis hit a base-clearing three-run double to give the Red Storm a 7-3 lead.

In the 9th, St. John's would add some very important insurance runs thanks to Kelly who drove in two-runs. Georgia Tech added four runs in the bottom of the ninth but that was all they could muster up before the Red Storm finally closed up the game, getting their first win of the season.

Game three, however, featured an onslaught by Georgia Tech who seemed not to have taken the loss the night before so lightly.

The Yellow Jackets scored 10 runs on 11 hits and used a five-run fifth inning to put the game out of reach. 10-1 was the final score, one bad inning making the difference.

Schwindel and Martin were the big time players for St. John's in their three game set, combining for seven hits in 22 at-bats with a home run and seven RBI.

Through seven games, St. John's has stuck to a three-man rotation with red shirted junior James Lomangino (0-1, 1.50 ERA), freshman Ryan McCormick (0-1, 2.70 ERA) and senior Sean Hagan (1-1, 4.97 ERA) all making two starts and red shirted freshman Ryan Hortsman (0-2, 9.00 ERA) making a starting appearance after appearing in a relief stint.

The Red Storm suffered a massive loss in pitching rotation to last years draft with Kyle Hansen and Matt Carasiti both being drafted to the majors.

Their offense doesn't have the Joe Panik of 2011, or the Jeremy Baltz of 2012 that can provide automatic offense in a lineup that features an upperclassmen-led team with two sophomores. Dustin Breshears, a junior college transfer from Belleuve College (2012 stats: .371 average, home run, 25 RBI), and Bret Dennis have been the only consistent underclassmen in the lineup.

As a team, St. John's is batting .196 with one home run and 17 RBI's. Their opponents are batting .270 with seven home runs and 45 RBI's.

As for the pitching, the Red Storm are posting a 5.55 ERA compared to their opponents 2.70 ERA.

The teams bullpen does consist of five true freshman and two red shirt freshman who have all been featured in relief stints. The youth and inexperience will play a major part of the Red Storm's season this year.

Next for St. John's: #1 North Carolina

Moving forward, St. John's was scheduled to face North Carolina Tuesday in a one-game series but due to the threat of heavy rain, according to the teams official Twitter page, the game was moved to Wednesday.

North Carolina will be St. John's second straight ranked opponent as they are the No. 1 team in the nation, according to Baseball America rankings.

Projected starting lineup for the Tar Heels:

1. Chaz Frank - CF - .250 avg 7 R 7 RBI
2. Michael Russel - SS - .200 avg 5 R 7 RBI
3. Colin Moran - 3B - .292 avg 10 R 6 RBI
4. Cody Stubbs - 1B - .350 avg 4 R 6 RBI
5. Landon Lassiter - 2B - .467 avg 4 R 4 RBI
6. Parks Jordan - DH - .389 avg 5 R 3 RBI
7. Skye Bolt - RF - .545 avg 4 R 7 RBI
8. Brian Holberton - LF - .231 6 R 3 RBI
9. Matt Roberts - C - .083 2 R 2 RBI

St. John's defeated North Carolina 9-5 last year during their NCAA Tournament run in the Tuscon Regional Final.

Game time is slated for 3 p.m. EST start.

After Wednesday's game, the Red Storm will have three days off before heading to face East Carolina in a three-game series - looking to possibly end this week 5-6.

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