The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Baseball Off to Slow Start: Drops Two of Three in Big East/Big Ten Challenge

The St. John’s baseball team dropped two out of three games to open its season in the Big East/Big Ten Challenge in Florida.

The preseason picks to win the Big East, St. John’s sandwiched a win against Minnesota in between losses to Michigan State on Opening Day and a loss to Illinois.

“We let two games get away and we have to just get better, get more consistent,” head coach Ed Blankmeyer said. “We had some good outings, we had some bad outings … I guess the word is consistency at the level we’re capable of playing.”

Senior shortstop Matt Wessinger led St. John’s, going 6-for-11 over the weekend with four stolen bases, while starting pitcher Sean Hagan pitched six shutout innings in St. John’s only win.

Illinois 9, St. John’s 4

On the final day of the Big East-Big Ten Challenge, St. John’s lost an early lead and fell to Illinois, 9-4 Feb. 19 in Clearwater, Fla. The Johnnies sent sophomore James Lomangino to the mound for his first start. After Lomgangino gave up a run in his first inning of work, but the Red Storm chased Fighting Illini starter Nick Chmielewski after only a third of an inning, helped by a three-run home run by Jeremy Baltz.

As a result, Illinois was forced to rely on its bullpen to get the last 26 outs. But behind three pitchers, the
Illini bullpen only gave up one unearned run. The results were not the same for the Johnnies as Lomangino went 3 2/3 innings giving up four runs and striking out six. He left with the Johnnies trailing 4-3.

The floodgates opened for the Illini as they scored five more runs off of four different St. John’s relievers.
Last year’s closer, junior Matt Carasiti gave up two runs in two innings as the Illini pulled away and won the game 9-4.

St. John’s 6, Minnesota 1

The Johnnies stifled Minnesota, 6-1, behind junior starting pitcher Sean Hagan on Feb. 18 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hagan threw six innings of shutout ball, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out five. Center fielder Martin Kelly went 2-for-3 with two RBI as St. John’s rolled past the Gophers.

St. John’s manufactured its first run in the third inning without recording a hit and pushed across four in the sixth inning, which was more than enough for Hagan and reliver Stephen Rivera, who combined to give up just four hits.

Michigan State 11, St. John’s 4

St. John’s dropped its first game of the 2012 season on Feb. 17 to Michigan State, 11-4 in Dunedin, Fla. Junior Kyle Hansen took the loss despite throwing four innings of two-run ball with nine strikeouts. Hansen was relieved by Kevin Kilpatrick who gave up three runs in 3 innings pitched and
the Storm were trailing after six.

The bats woke up in the seventh and eighth innings behind Jeremy Baltz and Matt Wessinger. Baltz had
an RBI triple and Wessinger an RBI double to cut into the lead. In the eighth, Baltz reached base on a fielding error scoring new comer Anthony Iacomini to make the deficit 5-4 going into the bottom of the eighth.

But Carasiti faced five batters and gave up five runs in the eight as the Spartans won it going away 11-4.

St. John’s will continue their season opening 15 game road trip this weekend when they go to Lubbock, Texas for the Brooks Wallace Memorial Classic. They will play two games against Texas Tech and one against Northern Illinois.

“It’s going to take a little time to figure out some of the things offensively to mature and determine the club we’re going to be,” Blankmeyer said. “We just focus on playing good baseball and whatever happens, happens. We can’t get caught up in it, we’re still going to play good and I’m very confident that we will.”

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