This past weekend, the St. John's baseball team traveled to Georgia and began their season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and No. 19 Kennesaw State. The Johnnies (1-2) walked away with what could be best defined as mixed results from their three contests, dropping two out of three.
The Red Storm started the weekend off with a late afternoon match-up on Friday against Georgia Tech (2-1).
St. John's struck first when junior CF Alex Caruso reached on an error and later scored on a ground out by DH Bret Dennis.
But from there on the Yellow Jackets seemed to have St. John's number as they penciled in six runs in the bottom of the first. They followed that up with a pair of runs in the second and a combined nine runs in their final two frames at the plate.
The Johnnies would add two more runs along the way but ultimately dropped their first game of the year 17-3.
A bright spot for the Red Storm was C Tyler Sanchez, who hit a solo home run in the second inning, which equaled his total from all of last season. Sanchez would finish 2-for-2 on the day.
Tech was led by strong performances from Kel Johnson and Brandon Gold who each finished with a home run and three RBI on the day.
The Johnnies then headed to Stillwell Stadium for an afternoon double header against Kennesaw State (2-1) on Saturday.
In the first game of the day, St. John's was powered by the arm of junior transfer Cody Stashak (1-0), who allowed just one run on four hits over 7.1 innings of work to earn his first Division I win.
The Johnnies jumped out to an early lead when Sanchez went yard in the second inning for the second consecutive day, this time a two run shot, to put St. John's on the board.
In the third inning St. John's added another two-run homer this time from RF Anthony Brocato. The true freshman would go on to finish the day 3-for-4 with a home run and 2 RBI.
The Red Storm went on to win the game by a margin of 6-2.
In the second half of the double header Kennesaw State showed its offensive might by racking up four hits and four runs in the third inning. The Owls would then use a pair of home runs by Corey Greeson and Griffin Helms as they pushed across six runs in sixth and seventh innings to take a 10-0 lead.
SS Jarred Mederos and CF Zach Lauricella would each have a pair of hits and went on to drive in four of St. John's runs. Despite a late charge, the Red Storm settled for a split of the double header with a 10-5 loss.
Overall, the weekend had two big losses at its bookends with a showing of some potential mixed in. While it would be easy to judge these games from a win-loss perspective, it is worth noting that Kennesaw State entered the season as a ranked team and represents a formidable victory.
Additionally, C Tyler Sanchez (3-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI) has displayed a unexpectedly live bat and will surely be an intriguing player to watch going forward.
St. John's next match-up is at 4 p.m. on February 20th against East Carolina (0-3), their opening game of the Keith LeClair Classic.