TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Continuing its cross-country Spring Break trip, the St. John’s softball team heads to The University of Alabama for four games at the Easton Classic, March 1-2. During the tournament, Amy Kvilhaug’s squad (3-8-1) will play two games against Iowa State (7-4) and two against the defending national champion No. 1 Alabama (17-0).
The trip to Alabama will be a homecoming for St. John’s freshman ace Tori Free, who attended Luverne High School, three hours southeast of Tuscaloosa. For the tournament, LHS will be sending fans to Rhoads Stadium to support Free and the rest of the Red Storm.
St. John’s will open Friday’s action with a 2 p.m. ET first pitch against the Cyclones before facing the Crimson tide at 7 p.m. ET. On Saturday, STJ will face ISU at Noon ET before a 2:30 p.m. ET tilt against UA.
The Saturday game against the hosting Crimson Tide will be broadcast on the University of Alabama’s on-campus station WVUA. Live Streaming, Live Stats and Live Chatting will be available via the St. John’s Softball Gameday Central Page.
The Red Storm is coming off a 1-3 trip to Northern California, where it matched up with San Jose State twice, splitting a doubleheader before falling in single game matchups against Santa Clara and Pacific.
Upperclassmen experience has led the way for the Red Storm in the early weeks, as juniors Ashley Beza and Jackie Reed became the first consecutive BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll selections for the Red Storm since 2011.
Freshmen have also played a large role with Yvonne Rericha leading the team in runs scored and Tori Free posting a team-best 1.97 ERA.
This weekend marks the first ever meeting between the Crimson Tide and the Red Storm, while St. John’s and Iowa State have met twice previously, splitting the all-time series, 1-1.
Junior third baseman Jackie Reed is batting .378 with six doubles-the most in the BIG EAST. Her performance at the Pirate Clash landed her on the BIG EAST Honor Roll, as she hit.500, slugged 1.000, had three RBI and four runs scored during the four-game stretch.
Sophomore shortstop/catcher Erin Burner is batting .308 which is second on the team, with two doubles and eight RBI, most on the team and tied for ninth in the BIG EAST. In the second game vs. San Jose State (2/24), Burner went 2-4 with a double and 3 RBI to help lead the Red Storm to the win.
Junior pitcher/first baseman Ashley Beza is batting .265 so far this season, fourth on the team. Beza got the season off to a torrid start at the Eagle Round Robin, batting .364 with two walks, one RBI and a run scored after strictly pitching her first two seasons at St.John’s. In the circle, Beza is 2-1 with 16 strikeouts in 28 innings of work. She was named to the first BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll this season, and has compiled a 1.000 fielding percentage in her first season at 1B.
Freshman outfielder Yvonne Rericha has stepped right in and produced as the leadoff hitter in all twelve Red Storm games. Rericha is batting .308, second on the team, with two triples (T-1st in BIG EAST), six RBI (second on team) and three stolen bases (most on team). On February 26 at Pacific, Rericha was 2-4 with a 2-run triple, scoring the Red Storm’s only runs of the game.
Freshman pitcher Tori Free ranks among the leaders in the BIG EAST in a number of categories, including innings pitched (39.0, 5th), ERA (1.97, 5th), strikeouts (41, 5th), walks (12, T-4th fewest), and batting average against (.220, 7th). Free started the first game of the February 24th doubleheader vs. San Jose State, pitching all six innings with six strikeouts and only three runs allowed.
Red Storm Among BIG EAST Leaders
After two weeks of play, several members of the Red Storm are among the top-10 in the BIG EAST in various statistical categories.
Junior Jackie Reed is eighth in slugging percentage (.703), seventh in hits (14), first in doubles (6), fifth in home runs (2) and third in total bases (26).
Junior Ashley Beza is first in fielding percentage (1.000) and sixth in putouts (69).
Freshman Yvonne Rericha is ninth in the league in runs scored (8), 10th in hits (13), first in triples (2), seventh in stolen bases (3), and ninth in steal attempts (3).
Sophomore Erin Burner is ninth in the conference in runs batted in (8).
Freshman Tori Free is fourth in the converence in ERA (1.97), seventh in batting average against (.220), fifth in innings pitched (39), fifth in strikeouts (41), and third in saves (1).
On This Date In St. John’s History
St. John’s has played 24 times combined on March 1-2, recording eight wins, including a 6-6 record on the first of the month.
The last time the Red Storm played on March 1 was in 2008, when St. John’s split a doubleheader at Cal State Northridge. Last season, St. John’s faced Virginia and North Carolina State at the Citrus Classic, falling in two tight contests.
Scouting Iowa State
The Iowa State Cyclones have gotten their season off to a 7-4 start and are coming off a trip to North Carolina for the Carolina Classic, in which the first two days were cancelled due to inclement weather.In the final two games, ISU defeated Iona 11-1 in five innings and then lost to Penn State 9-8 in eight innings.
The Cyclones have three batters hitting over .400 who have started all 11 games this season. Infielder Erica Miller is leading the team, batting .484 with 11 RBI (second on team), seven walks (second on team) and 4 doubles (second on team). Second baseman Sara Davison is second with a .452 average and is tied for the team lead with 12 RBI and five doubles. Outfielder Sarah Hawryluk is batting .405 with two doubles and two triples.
In the circle, ISU is led by Taylor Smith and Tori Torrescano. Smith has a 2.00 ERA, and is 2-1 with one complete game. Torrescano has a 4-1 record with a 3.61 ERA in 42.2 innings pitched, 22 strikeouts and 11 walks.
The Red Storm is 1-1 all-time vs. Iowa State, with their last matchup coming on Feb. 27, 2010, a 6-1 win for the Red Storm as part of the Georgia Softball Classic.
The Cyclones Head Coach is Stacy Gemeinhardt-Cesler, who is in her eighth season with a record of 159-201.
Scouting No. 1 Alabama
The defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide has picked the 2013 season up right where it left off, getting off to a 16-0 start. The Crimson Tide has two returning 2012 NCAA All-Americans in pitcher Jackie Traina (First Team) and shortstop Kaila Hunt (Second Team).
At the plate, there are six Crimson Tide batters hitting .395 or better, including outfielder Haylie McCleney, who is batting a team leading .604 with six doubles, three homeruns and 14 RBI. Hunt is batting .395 this year and leads her team in RBI (19) and homeruns (7).
In the circle, the triumvirate of Traina, Leslie Jury and Lauren Sewell have been dominating, with 14 out of 16 complete games, a 1.17 ERA and a .169 batting average against. Traina is 8-0 with a 0.82 ERA, seven complete games, 75 strikeouts and 15 walks in 51.1 innings pitched.
The Crimson Tide head coach is Patrick Murphy, who is in his 15th season with Alabama with a record of 790-218. Murphy has led Alabama to 14-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and has the most wins in school history.
After the Easton Classic at the University of Alabama, the Red Storm will head to the University of Maryland’s tournament for five games. While at College Park, St. John’s will face Head Coach Amy Kvilhaug’s former team, Radford, while also getting a rematch with the University of Maryland, whom the Red Storm beat 11-3 in 2012.
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