For the St. John’s baseball team, it’s hard to imagine getting off to a better start to the season.
The Red Storm made the trip to Florida for the Big Ten-Big East challenge, and came away with three victories in all three games against Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois, improving the Red Storm’s record to 6-0. Their 6-0 record is tied for the best start under head coach Ed Blankmeyer.
The team also started 6-0 in 2008.
The Red Storm kicked off the weekend by defeating Minnesota 5-4 on Friday. Freshman Jeremy Baltz connected on his first career home run, which was a solo blast in the second inning, which gave the Red Storm a 1-0 lead. Baltz went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs.
The game was seemingly in hand in the ninth inning for the Red Storm, as they clung to a 5-2 lead. Ryan Cole entered the game in the ninth and allowed two runs after walking two batters and giving up back-to-back hits. Daniel Burawa then entered the game, and would just need one pitch to enduce a groundout to end the game, as St. John’s escaped with the 5-4 win.
Pitching would be the story the next day, as St. John’s narrowly edged Michigan 2-1. Nick Cenatiempo, Stephen Rivera, Kevin Kilpatrick, and Eddie Medina combined to give up a total of five hits and the lone earned run. Scott Ferrara and Joe Panik drove in the two runs for the RedStorm, as Ferrara had two singles and Panik went 2-for-4.
The Red Storm took a 2-0 lead in the third after Panik’s RBI double. The two runs would be all that Michigan starter Matt Miller would allow, as he would pitch six innings for Michigan.
Michigan finally got on the board in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.
Eddie Medina pitched the eighth and ninth innings for the Red Storm, struck out one batter and did not give up a run, earning the save.
But the Red Storm’s third win of the Big Ten-Big East Challenge would not come easy.
The Red Storm trailed for the first time this season, as Illinois would scored once in the second and three in the fifth to take a 4-0 lead.
But the Red Storm, who didn’t even get a hit in the first four innings, scored four runs in the fifth to tie the game.
Matt Wessinger had an RBI groundout in the sixth to give the Red Storm their first lead of the game. They would add another run in the seventh inning as Burawa entered the game in the ninth inning for a 1-2-3 inning, and he would pick up his second save of the weekend to seal the 6-4 come-from-behind victory.
The Red Storm will look to continue their winning ways as they head to East Tennessee State on March 5 for a three game set.