Red Storm And Panthers Clash To Open BIG EAST Season :: St. John's has won or split three of last five conference-opening series.
Red Storm And Panthers Clash To Open BIG EAST Season
St. John's has won or split three of last five conference-opening series.
March 22, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - The St. John’s Softball will begin the final leg of its seven-week season-opening road trip as it heads to the University of Pittsburgh for a three-game series to open BIG EAST play. This will be the second time that the Red Storm (6-20-1) and the Panthers (11-12) have opened league play against each other, splitting a doubleheader on March 25, 2006.
The teams will open on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. Initially scheduled for a noon first pitch, the start time was moved to 1 p.m. and then pushed back even further to allow field thawing after overnight freezing.
- This will be the fifth time in the seven years of the Amy Kvilhaug era that the Red Storm will start BIG EAST play on the road. Last season, St. John’s split a conference-opening doubleheader at Providence on March 28, 2012.
- All-time, St. John’s is 9-13 in BIG EAST Openers, with a 17-31 record across conference opening series. In the Kvilhaug Era, St. John’s has a 2-4 record in league openers with a 4-9 record across conference opening series.
- St. John’s is coming off a 1-3 weekend at the Capital Invitational, taking the third of three games in the 2013 season against Akron, 6-0. The top of the St. John’s order in Yvonne Rericha, Ellen Czuba and Chrissy Montez combined for 14 hits, 12 runs scored, 10 RBI and five extra-base hits on the weekend.
- This weekend marks the final scheduled matchup between the Panthers and Red Storm before Pitt heads to the ACC and St. John’s moves to the new BIG EAST Conference.
- Senior infielder Chrissy Montez has been lighting it up at the plate over the past two weeks, batting .457 over her last 11 games with five home runs and 13 RBI. The speedy captain has also made her mark on the base paths, going a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases over the stretch. Over the past two tournament, including the doubleheader with Manhattan, Montez is slugging .943 and her five walks have helped her to a .537 on-base percentage. Montez help put the game away against Akron (3/17) with a towering three-run home run to give the Red Storm a 6-0 win.
- Freshman Yvonne Rericha has partnered with Montez at the top of the St. John’s order to form a lightning quick base running duo. Rericha has a team-best seven steals and three triples so far on the season and like Montez, plated six runs at the Miken Invitational. At the Capital Invitational, Rericha hit .385 with a double, a triple, and RBI and a pair of stolen bases.
- Junior pitcher/first baseman Ashley Beza showed flashes of brilliance in the circle at the Capital Invitational that helped her earn 2012 BIG EAST All-Tournament honors. For the weekend, Beza went 1-0, with a 1.20 ERA. In the win against Akron (3/17), Beza pitched a three-hit shutout, her first of the year. Against Manhattan, Beza retired the first 11 batters she faced en route to giving up just three hits, carrying a shutout into the ninth inning.
- Sophomore outfielder Ellen Czuba came on strong at the end of the Capital Invitaional for the Red Storm, going 3-for-7 in the final two games of the weekend, scoring a pair of runs.
- Sophomore catcher/shortstop Erin Burner is expected to be back in the Red Storm lineup after missing the Capital Invitational. Burner is batting .310 through 23 games played with a team-high 20 RBI and five home runs, eighth-most in the BIG EAST.
- The Pittsburgh Panthers enter BIG EAST action with a record of 11-12 and are coming off of a 2-3 showing in the Cherry Blossom Classic in Fairfax, Va., including wins over Canisius and George Mason.
- The Panthers have four hitters who are batting better than .313 with at least 10 RBI. Savannah King is batting .383 (9th in BIG EAST), and also has four doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI. Tori Nirschl, who was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the week of March 4, is batting .347 - having started all 23 games this season - and is tied for third in the BIG EAST in triples (two), home runs (six) and runs scored (21). Nirschl also has a .680 slugging percentage, which ranks fifth in the BIG EAST. Holly Stevens, who was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the week of Feb. 25, is batting .324 with four doubles, five home runs and 16 RBI, as well as being tied for the team lead with two stolen bases.
- King has also pitched the most innings for the Panthers so far this season (78.0), and has a 6-7 record with eight complete games in 12 starts, a 3.32 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 38 walks. Alexa Larkin has also made a strong contribution for the Pittsburgh staff, with five complete games in her 10 starts, 54 strikeouts and 27 walks in 54.2 innings pitched.
- Pittsburgh Head Coach Holly Aprile is in her fifth season at the helm of the Panthers. Aprile is the only coach in program history to lead the Panthers to three consecutive winning seasons. She has a 123-105 record with the Panthers.
- St. John’s is 14-11 all-time vs. Pittsburgh, with the Panthers winning in their last two matchups, sweeping a doubleheader on April 21, 2010 with 6-5 and 8-1 wins.
- After opening BIG EAST play with the three-game set, St. John’s will head back to Queens for its home-opening series against Seton Hall.
- The local rivals will play a doubleheader on Thurs., March 28 and finishing with a single game on Sat. March 30. The adjustment from the normal Saturday-Sunday format is to allow students, fans and administrators to observe Good Friday and Easter Sunday holidays.
For all the latest news on the St. John’s softball team, log on to RedStormSports.com and follow the team (@STJ_Softball) on Twitter. You can join the conversation with the hashtag, #stjsb. If you would like to be added to the St. John’s Softball mailing list, send an email to Alex Bryant (firstname.lastname@example.org
) with the subject line “Softball Mailing List”.