Baseball Minute: Creighton, St. John's on the Verge

Chris Kalica and St. John's host Albany Tuesday evening before welcoming Creighton to Queens for a big three-game series beginning Friday.

Chris Kalica and St. John's host Albany Tuesday evening before welcoming Creighton to Queens for a big three-game series beginning Friday.

May 6, 2014

Composite Schedule | BIG EAST Statistics

NEW YORK – It’s amazing how quickly some things can change over the course of a weekend.

Just ask St. John’s and Xavier, who entered last weekend in a second-place deadlock in BIG EAST baseball at 7-2 in the conference, just one game behind first-place Creighton. When the series was over, the Red Storm left Cincinnati with three victories and a share of first place with the Bluejays, who took two of three from Seton Hall. Xavier dropped to 7-5 in the conference and into a fourth-place tie with the Pirates.

St. John’s has had stretches this season when it was torridly hot, and it appears the Red Storm are on another of those trajectories. They’ve won 10 of 11 and 13 of their last 15 games. After sweeping Xavier, the Johnnies return home to Queens for a midweek battle Tuesday with Albany on ESPN3 as a primer for their three-game home series against Creighton starting Friday. Sunday’s 1 p.m. Eastern broadcast will air on FOX Sports 1.

It’s a relatively light midweek schedule this week with Butler visiting Northern Kentucky and Georgetown hosting UMBC on Wednesday.

In addition to the Creighton-St. John’s series in Queens, the Musketeers look try to rebound at Seton Hall and Butler hopes to mount one final run for the BIG EAST Tournament when it hosts Georgetown. Villanova hosts Manhattan for three games in non-league play.

BIG EAST Notebook

FIRST TOURNEY BERTH WILL BE CLINCHED FRIDAY
The way the schedule works out Friday, there’s no doubt that a berth in the BIG EAST Tournament will be sewn up. The winner of Friday’s series opener between St. John’s and Creighton will punch a ticket to the postseason. There’s even a chance both could qualify for the tournament even before the first pitch is thrown for their 6 p.m. game. That would happen if Butler loses to Georgetown when those teams square off in a 3 p.m. start in Indianapolis.


 

 

HUGE SERIES IN SOUTH ORANGE
Both teams will look to rebound off series losses when Xavier meets Seton Hall in South Orange starting with Friday’s 6 p.m. opener. The two are tied for fourth at 7-5, three full games ahead of Butler and all three teams have six conference tilts remaining. It’s especially critical because the Bulldogs own head-to-head series wins against both the Pirates and Musketeers, having taken two of three from each earlier in the spring.

GETTING RANKED
St. John’s has parlayed its recent run into an appearance in the national rankings. When Monday’s latest College Baseball Top 30 was released, the Johnnies found themselves sitting at No. 23. They’re the second BIG EAST team to make that poll’s top 30 following Seton Hall’s lead. The Pirates dropped out of the top 30 this week after a 2-2 week and losing two of three at Creighton.

PREVOST WINS ACES BATTLE
Seton Hall’s Josh Prevost and Creighton’s Matt Warren went toe-to-toe Friday in Omaha in a matchup between two strong candidates for the conference’s Pitcher of the Year honor. Prevost came into the matchup at 9-1 with the BIG EAST’s best ERA, while Warren, at 9-0, was second. The senior Pirate tossed a complete-game three-hitter despite allowing two runs to earn the win while Warren suffered his first loss of the season in Seton Hall’s 8-2 victory. The Bluejays, though, got the last laugh by taking two of three to win the series.

TOURNEY TIMES AND FORMAT
Times have been confirmed for the BIG EAST Tournament that will take over Brooklyn’s MCU Park from May 22-25. Doubleheaders will take place May 22 and 23 with games at 4 and 7 p.m., followed by Saturday’s single game at 3 p.m. and Sunday’s championship tilt at 1 p.m. The first five games of the tournament will stream live for free on BIGEAST.com, while FOX Sports 1 will air the championship.

PREVOST BEING WATCHED
Seton Hall righty ace Josh Prevost is one of 47 names on the first College Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher of the Year Watch List of the season announced recently. The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented during the National College Baseball Hall of Fame’s annual Night of Champions June 28 in Lubbock, Texas. Prevost is the only BIG EAST pitcher on the list.

NEWCOMER BLUEJAYS TOP PRESEASON POLL
One of three teams making its BIG EAST debut in 2014, the Creighton Bluejays were named slim favorites in the preseason baseball poll conducted by the seven head coaches in February. Creighton captured a poll-topping 32 points with two first-place votes to edge out Seton Hall's 31 points and two first-place votes. St. John's captured three first-place nods and took third in the poll with 29 points. Xavier (21 points), Georgetown (12), Butler (11) and Villanova (11) rounded out the rest. Creighton also swept the major preseason awards with Tommy Strunc earning the Pitcher of the Year nod and Mike Gerber the Player of the Year award.

FS1 TO CARRY BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
The decisive game of the 2014 BIG EAST Baseball Championship will air nationally on FOX Sports 1, as announced in February. It's one of four BIG EAST spring championships FS1 will air, including men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse and softball. The BIG EAST Baseball Championship will take place at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., May 22-25.

EARLY TOURNAMENT ROUNDS TO AIR ON BIGEAST.COM
We’d love to have you, but if you can’t make it to the ballpark, don’t sweat it. The first five games of the BIG EAST Baseball Tournament from MCU Park in Brooklyn will stream live for free on BIGEAST.com May 22-24, giving fans the ability to watch and follow along with their favorite programs and players during the championship event.