May 22, 2014
Championship Central | Buy Tickets | Watch on BIG EAST All-Access | Sean Brennan Feature from Wednesday
NEW YORK – Returning to Brooklyn, N.Y., for the first time since 2007, the 2014 BIG EAST Baseball Tournament presented by New York Life gets underway Thursday at MCU Park with a doubleheader featuring the top four teams from the conference’s regular-season standings.
With views of the Coney Island amusement rides just beyond the outfield walls and the sounds of summer on the boardwalk, four teams will look to carve their pathway to a BIG EAST Championship and NCAA Tournament berth.
Creighton captured the BIG EAST regular-season title and the tournament’s No. 1 seed on Saturday, the final day of the regular season, with a 7-6 12-inning victory at Xavier. The Bluejays will square off again with the fourth-seeded Musketeers in Thursday’s opener at 4 p.m. In another rematch from the end of the regular season, second-seeded St. John’s will meet No. 3 Seton Hall in Thursday’s nightcap at 7 p.m.
The tournament will take on a modified double-elimination format the rest of the way. Thursday’s losers will square off in Game No. 3 Friday at 4 p.m., and Thursday’s winners will play in Game No. 4 Friday at 7 p.m. The winner of Game No. 4 advances to Sunday’s championship game, while the Game No. 3 winner will battle the Game No. 4 loser in a second elimination game Saturday at 3 p.m. The winner of that contest advances to Sunday.
The winner of Sunday’s championship game, set for 1 p.m., will capture the BIG EAST title and earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. FOX Sports 1 will air Sunday’s title tilt, while LINACRE Media will produce the first five games of the playoff and air the games live and for free on BIGEAST.com.
Emmy Award winner and New York broadcasting legend Spencer Ross will handle the play-by-play of the first five games on BIGEAST.com, while St. John’s alum and long-time NYIT coach Bob Hirshfield will provide the analysis. Sunday’s FOX Sports 1 broadcast team features Rich Ackerman on play-by-play and C.J. Nitkowski as the analyst.
Home since 2001 of the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Class A affiliate of the New York Mets, MCU Park boasts seating for 7,500 and is easily accessible via New York City Subway at the Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue station, served by the D, F, N and Q trains.
BIG EAST Tournament Schedule at MCU Park
Thursday, May 22 (Online: BIGEAST.com)
Game 1: No. 1 Creighton vs. No. 4 Xavier – 4 p.m.
Game 2: No. 2 St. John’s vs. No. 3 Seton Hall – 7 p.m.
Friday, May 23 (Online: BIGEAST.com)
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser – 4 p.m.
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner – 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 24 (Online: BIGEAST.com)
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser – 3 p.m.
Sunday, May 25 (TV: FOX Sports 1)
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner – 1 p.m.
BIG EAST Baseball Championship Notebook
• The conference announced the All-BIG EAST team and major awards on Monday. Creighton sophomore first baseman Reagan Fowler and Seton Hall junior shortstop D.J. Ruhlman were named BIG EAST Co-Players of the Year in voting conducted by the league’s seven head coaches. Seton Hall senior righthander Josh Prevost was named Pitcher of the Year, St. John’s freshman outfielder Michael Donadio earned the Rookie of the Year nod and Creighton skipper Ed Servais was recognized as Coach of the Year.
• Fowler and Ruhlman were the first pair to share the BIG EAST Player of the Year honor since 2008, and it’s the fifth time overall. Ruhlman is the fourth Pirate named Player of the Year and first since 1997 (David Kim).
• Fowler and Servais are Creighton baseball’s first two recipients of major awards from the BIG EAST.
• Donadio is St. John’s fourth Rookie of the Year winner and first since Jeremy Baltz in 2010. • Prevost is the first Seton Hall hurler named Pitcher of the Year since 1992 (Ted Klamm) and fourth in Pirate history.
• Twenty-five of the 30 All-BIG EAST selections and all five major award winners will compete in the tournament.
• Creighton and Xavier are making their first trips to the BIG EAST Tournament. Both are in their first season in the conference.
• St. John’s and Seton Hall are 1-2 in BIG EAST Tournament appearances. 2014 marks the Red Storm’s 23rd trip to the bracket, while the Pirates are in for the 20th time.
• St. John’s owns a BIG EAST-best seven tournament titles (1985, ’86, ’88, ’93, ’97, ’10, ‘12). Seton Hall is tied for third with three (1987, ’01, ‘11).
• Creighton boasts 10 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bluejays were members of the Missouri Valley Conference from 1977-2013, last claiming the conference tournament title in 2012.
• Xavier last won a conference championship in 2009 as a member of the A-10. That also marks the Musketeers one and only NCAA Tournament trip.
• 2014 marks the first year the BIG EAST Tournament will feature a maximum of six games since 2005.
• Connecticut won last year’s BIG EAST Tournament, entering the field as the No. 8 seed and winning four games to hoist the trophy.