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

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Joe Panik Becomes Fourth St. John’s Alum to play in World Series

The San Francisco Giants made it to their third World Series since 2010, and they owe it partially to a St. John’s University alumni. Rookie Joe Panik broke through with the Giants this past June, becoming their savior. He’s the fourth former St. John’s player to play in a World Series.

“This is a dream come true,” Panik told MLB.com after the Giants clinched the pennant in Game 5 of the NLCS two weeks ago.

In three seasons at St. John’s, the Poughkeepsie-native batted .370 with a 1.071 OPS and led the Red Storm to a Big East championship in 2010 and two NCAA tournament appearances. The Giants selected him with the 29th overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. He got the call in late June, after batting .321 in 74 games with the team’s Triple-A affiliate in Fresno, Calif.

Even as a rookie, Panik was a crucial part of the Giants, having made it to the playoffs. Before his call-up, the team had serious problems at second base, after losing 2012 NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro to a season-ending injury. In only 73 games, Panik took over the position and led all NL rookies with a .305 batting average and put up a .343 OBP.

“Joe, he’s been a savior,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told MLB.com. “We had a need, and he went from Triple-A, and right off the bat, this kid acted like he belonged up here. The defense, the bat, I moved him down in the two-hole, and he’s the guy who’s in the middle of all the rallies. I mean, we needed help. We tried some guys there, but he filled that hole, and he did it consistently.”

Panik had several big moments in such little time this season. In the regular season, he made the final putout of Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter against San Diego in July.

In the postseason, he again had some big moments. He went 3-for-5 in the one-game Wild Card playoff in Pittsburgh, scored the Division Series-winning run against the Washington Nationals and hit a two-run home run against 20-game winner Adam Wainwright in the clinching game of the NLCS. In his first World Series game in Kansas City, he hit an RBI triple in a Game One victory and later hit a game-breaking two-run double in a series-tying Game Four victory against the Royals.

“Best of luck to Joe Panik in his quest for the ‘big ring.’”. Glad to have some of his guys out to support him! #truejohnnies @StJohnsBaseball,” SJU coach Ed Blankmeyer tweeted before Game Three of the World Series.

“He’s a baseball player,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said after the Giants punched their World Series ticket. “He wouldn’t necessarily knock your socks off with his tools, but he knows how to play the game.”

Overall, Panik reached base safely in 11 of his first 14 postseason games, collected five extra base hits and drove in eight runs.

The previous three St. John’s alumni to play in the World Series were 1987 Series MVP Frank Viola with the Minnesota Twins, John Franco (fourth all-time in saves) with the 2000 Mets and Rich Aurilia for the 2002 Gi

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Brandon Mauk, Digital Sports Manager
Digital Sports Manager:  Brandon is a senior going for a major in  journalism major and a minor in history. His goal is to expand The Torch's online presence for publication's sports coverage, increase the section's social media presence, and work on online stories every week even for week's with no printed issue. [email protected] @TorchSports
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