Here are a few things to get you ready for today's St. John's baseball opener against the University of Richmond at UNC-Wilmington's "Battle at the Beach" invitational:
St. John's plays three opponents this weekend - Richmond today at noon, UNC-Wilmington tomorrow at 4:00 PM, and Western Carolina at 10:00 AM on Sunday.
The Red Storm, who won the Big East last season and went to the NCAA Second Round (Regional Finalists) last year, return 20 letter winners from last season, including the Big east preseason player of the year Alex Caruso and pitcher of the year, reliever Thomas Hackimer. Three other players earned all Big East honors - Robbie Knightes, Michael Donadio and Troy Dixon.
St. John's returns experience at all field positions except for first base, where Monroe College transfer Gui Gingras is expected to step in to the position. The starting rotation could be in flux, but the bullpen is strong.
The Red Storm were picked first in the league's preseason poll.
The Red Storm open the season with a weekend in Wilmington, North Carolina, and a game next Wednesday at North Carolina State. From there, they play at Cal State Bakersfield in Bakersfield and then travel to tough Florida State in Tallahassee before finally returning to play in the area in early March (and then going out to Southern Illinois and Reno, Nevada). That's a customary schedule; the northeast is cold, so teams like St. John's open the year on the road.
For more - Ed Blankmeyer previews the season in the video below.