St. John's Softball Set to Make Season Debut at Felsberg Invitational|
Feb. 8, 2018
QUEENS, N.Y. – The St. John's softball team will open the 2018 campaign this Friday, Feb. 9, at the Felsberg Invitational in Miami, Fla. The Red Storm is scheduled to play five games over two days against powerhouse teams, including a South Carolina squad that finished No. 25 in the USA Today/NFCA coaches’ poll following the 2017 season.
Felsberg Invitational Tournament Schedule
Feb. 9 vs. ECU 9 a.m.
at FIU 1:30 p.m.
Feb. 10 vs. ECU 11:15 a.m.
at FIU 3:45 p.m.
Feb. 11 vs. South Carolina 9 a.m.
The Johnnies begin the 2018 season on the heels of an historic 2017 slate that saw the Red Storm finish the year with single-season program records in BIG EAST wins (17), runs scored (277) and RBIs (251) while matching the 1990 squad for most team victories with 32. In addition to these numerous accolades, a league-best seven players earned spots on the All-BIG EAST First and Second Teams.
Leading the way for the Johnnies is Head Coach Amy Kvilhaug, who enters her 12th season at the helm of the Red Storm. The winningest coach in program history, Kvilhaug led the 2017 BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year and brings back associate head coach Bob Guerriero and assistant coach Alyssa Tiumalu from a season ago.
The Red Storm returns nine starters, including two veteran pitchers from the 2017 BIG EAST regular season champion squad in senior McKenzie Murray and Second Team All-BIG EAST selection Madison Morris . Murray had 10 starts in 25 appearances for St. John’s, recording a 2.81 ERA on the season to go along with 62 strikeouts.
As a sophomore, Morris made 10 starts in 19 appearances for the Red Storm, recording a BIG EAST leading 2.61 ERA. The Hampton, Va., native also tallied 60 strikeouts in 67.0 innings for the Red Storm, allowing a conference-low 40 hits and 27 runs for the Johnnies.
In addition to the team’s highly touted lineup, the Johnnies return Red Storm legend Chrissy Montez as a volunteer assistant coach. Montez set a St. John's single-season record for home runs with 16 during her senior season in 2013 a record she still holds today.
St. John’s begins play on Friday with games against East Carolina and host-school Florida International, starting with a 9 a.m. showdown against the Pirates. ECU enters the 2018 campaign under the watch of third-year head coach Courtney Oliver, who directed the team to a 26-30 overall record and 5-13 mark in the American Athletic Conference in 2017.
The Pirates return three of their top five hitters including seniors Meredith Burroughs and Alex Mycek as well as redshirt sophomore Tate McClellan. Burroughs and Mycek hit 16 home runs apiece to lead the American Athletic Conference and ranked 22nd nationally. ECU posted a school and American Athletic Conference single-season record with 64 home runs in 2017.
This will be the Johnnies 12th all-time meeting with the Pirates, who currently hold a 7-4 advantage over the Red Storm. The two teams last faced off on Feb. 16, 2013 in a 1-0 decision that saw the Pirates come away with the victory. Despite the loss, recent grad Tori Free shined in the circle, pitching a complete-game one-hitter.
Following their season opener the Red Storm will take on FIU with first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The Panthers are coming off their most successful season in school history with a 46-15 mark, having set school records for wins, fewest losses and winning percentage. The Panthers posted a 1.77 earned-run average, best in Conference USA and 14th lowest in the nation.
This will mark the fifth meeting all time between the two schools with the teams tied at two wins apiece. The Johnnies last victory over the Panthers came on Feb. 13, 2009 when former Red Storm pitcher Kat Lawrence allowed just three hits over seven innings, striking out five batters and holding the Panthers scoreless in a 4-0 victory.
The Johnnies will play both ECU and FIU again on Saturday before closing out the tournament with a matchup against South Carolina on Sunday at 9 a.m. The Gamecocks return their top hitters from 2017, a season that saw South Carolina outscore its opponents 264-209. South Carolina has posted a 19-1 record over the past five years in season-opening tournaments, including a 5-0 mark last year in the Carolina Classic, and is 16-17 since 2013 in the state of Florida. This will be the first ever meeting between the two teams.
For all the latest news on the St. John's softball team, log on to RedStormSports.com and follow the team (@StJohnsSoftball) on Twitter. You can join the conversation with the hashtag, #SJUSB. If you would like to be added to the St. John's softball mailing list, send an email to email@example.com with the subject line "Softball Mailing List"