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3-Strike Preview: St. John's at Creighton

A preview of the Big East Championship game on May 24th.

Ryan Fitzgerald will play a crucial role this weekend... will he be a bat to watch for?!
Ryan Fitzgerald will play a crucial role this weekend... will he be a bat to watch for?!
Steven Branscombe

Number One v Number Two

Conference play in the Big East is so incredibly important the opportunity for post-season play hinges on it. Unlike in other conferences where all participating schools play in the tournament, only the top 4 teams get the honor in the Big East. Over the course of a season it becomes evident that a couple of teams will make an impact come tourney time. Usually these two teams are awarded a '1' seed or a '2' seed, a congratulatory gift for doing so gosh darn swell over the course of the season. The St. John's 'Johnnies/Red Storm' are pining for the top seed this weekend as they face proverbial favorite in the Creighton Bluejays. The Bluejays get home field advantage and get to host the 'Johnnies/Red Storm' but the boys from New York are going to make a statement. Here are 3 reasons why you should spend your weekend watching, (Friday night's game starts at 5:00pm CT on FS1, Sunday's day game starts at 1pm CT on CBS Sports Net) listening, (local radio station?) and following the game (I'll live tweet most of it @crimebait or you can follow @StJohnsBaseball & @CU_Baseball).

Premium Pitching

On Friday night we'll be allowed to, legally, watch two college-aged men duel one another from a mound in the middle of a field. The two men will be Cody Stashak, the ace for St. John's, who has posed a 3.04 Ear through 9 appearances so far this year. The kid is undeniably one of the top players in the conference as he has also struck out 45 batters, averaging 5 k's per game. His challenger, Rollie Lacy, has put up some incredible numbers thus far, posting a 2.73 ERA through 12 appearances, 6 of those he's started, while only succumbing to 30 hits in 33 innings pitched - not bad for a sophomore. On Saturday we'll use our imagination and picture Ryan McCormick and Keith Rogalla pitching. Don’t imagine them naked. Or do, whatever, it's your imagination. Just don't be weird about it. Sunday is kind of a mixed bag as Kalica has started Sunday games for St. John's, which is noble and super cool, but Creighton goes with a pitcher-by-coin-flip routine in which 5 pitchers flip for innings. It's actually a really great ritual and everybody wins.

Look Out! Bats!

Twice a day you may see a wondrous scene, the sun escaping the horizon to the east to greet your day and the sun resting in the west to welcome the night. The sunshine is a welcoming sight as it kisses your skin and warms the soul. However, there's a particular creature that dwells in the dark and feasts upon its prey when the sun begins it's rest. It hangs upside down while you shield your eyes from the the great star that burns so bright in our daytime sky. This creature is most commonly referred to as a bat. Bats can carry a multitude of diseases that can kill, maim and mentally incapacitate man. Our bat to watch for this weekend's showdown between the St. John's 'Johnnies/Red Storm' and the Creighton Bluejays comes in a pair this week, as Alex Caruso is completely mashing the cover off the ball with a batting average sitting at .366 with a slugging percentage resting gently at .407. The junior centerfielder is an absolute joy to watch considering his incredible consistency. Our second bat to watch isn't Ed Servais hitting fungoes, it's Reagan Fowler, the junior infielder who is currently a baseball player and hold an average at .343 and a slugging percentage at .435. These are the two bats to watch this weekend! Congrats Alex and Reagan! You did it! Have an internet high-five!

Rain in the forecast! Defensive gems!

St. John's and Creighton are the top two Big East teams in terms of defense. This is really cool to delve deeper into because defensive statistic aren't really kept in the NCAA so researching this is kind of a pointless routine in futility that usually leaves me weeping in the corner or biting a towel. Regardless, you'll find the best pitching and fielding on the baseball squadrons of St. John's and Creighton. They rank 1st & 2nd in double plays, hits allowed per nine innings, and fielding percentage. Both squads are so solid defensively that it wouldn't surprise me if we ended up with a couple of shutouts. Also, rain is in the forecast this weekend which may put these games in jeopardy, just FYI.