QUEENS, N.Y. -- After being forced to cancel last week's series against DePaul, the St. John's softball team (7-13, 0-0 BIG EAST) will kick off BIG EAST action as it heads to Indianapolis, Indiana, to take on the Butler Bulldogs (14-12, 2-1 BIG EAST) in a three-game series on March 28-29.
St. John's is coming off of a 9-1 victory over LIU Brooklyn where the Red Storm combined for 11 hits in six innings to take down the Blackbirds.
Even after battling through rainy conditions, the Red Storm did not commit a single error in the game, marking only the fourth contest of the season with a zero in the error column.
Due to heavy snowfall and the chilly temperatures of the Northeast, the Red Storm has only been able to play in two games over the last 19 days.
St. John's is looking to pick up its first away victory of the season this weekend after an 0-5 start when playing on the road.
Following this weekend's series, the Red Storm will return home to play eight of its next nine games in Queens.
St. John's will head into the weekend with an RPI of 174, the fourth-best RPI among BIG EAST schools. Butler's RPI of 121 ranks second in the league behind Creighton (104).
Live stats for all of the game will be available on RedStormSports.com and fans can always join in the conversation on Twitter (@StJohnsSoftball) by using #SJUSB.
Sophomore Monique Landini has been hot at the plate lately, batting .556 (15-for-27) with three doubles, four RBI and eight walks with a .657 on-base percentage and a .667 slugging percentage over her last nine games, striking out only twice during that time while successfully reaching base in each of those games.
Freshman Krystal Pugais leading the Red Storm offense after an impressive start to her rookie campaign. The first-baseman holds a .442 (19-for-43) batting average with a double, four home runs and 14 RBI for a team-leading .744 slugging percentage and has successfully reached base in her last 15 games while earning a hit in her last eight.
In her last two outings, junior Tori Free has dominated in the circle for the Red Storm, allowing only four hits while striking out 20 in 9.2 innings of work to hold opponents to a .121 batting average.
Around The BIG EAST (through 3/26/15)
As a team, the Red Storm offense is fourth in the league in both batting average (.286), third in on-base percentage (.372) and is fifth in slugging percentage (.388).
The St. John's pitching staff is currently fourth in the league with a 4.24 ERA and ranks fourth with 115 combined strikeouts this season.
The Red Storm is one of only three teams in the league (Butler, Creighton) who has picked off a runner this season.
Individually, freshman Krystal Pugais third in the league with a .442 batting average while Erin Burner is fourth with a .413 average at the plate.
Puga is fourth on the list in slugging percentage (.744) and fifth in on-base percentage (.509) while Burner (.479) and Monique Landini(.456) are sixth and seventh, respectively.
Junior Tori Free is now fifth in the BIG EAST with a 2.51 ERA after holding opponents to a league-best .162 batting average while freshman McKenzie Murray is sixth with a 2.68 ERA.
Grace Kramerleads the BIG EAST with 10 relief appearances for the Red Storm this season.
SCOUTING REPORT: Butler
Butler is heading into the weekend with a 14-12 overall record after taking a pair of games from Creighton in the BIG EAST opener last weekend. Heading into the game, the Bulldogs have won five of their last seven games.
With the first ratings of the year released earlier this week, Butler holds the second-best RPI in the league with a 121, just behind Creighton who leads the BIG EAST with a RPI of 104.
Last year, the Bulldogs missed the BIG EAST Tournament after finishing the regular season tied with Creighton with a 10-10 conference record, dropping the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Bluejays for the fourth and final spot in the postseason tournament.
Leading the Butler offense this season is the two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week Alex Kotter who is hitting .444 (32-for-72) with five doubles, a triple, three home runs and 22 RBI for a .667 slugging percentage and .533 on-base percentage.
Last week, senior Kristen Boros was named the BIG EAST Player of the Week after batting .636 (7-for-11) with a home run in each of the three games against conference-foe Creighton last weekend.
The Bulldogs have primarily relied on three pitchers this season: Kristin Gutierrez (6-5, 3.09 ERA), Kacey Starwalt (5-1, 3.64 ERA) and Mikeila Boroff (3-6, 5.76 ERA).
Scott Hall is in his fifth season as the head coach of Butler after serving 10 seasons as the head coach at Pendleton Heights High School. This season, the Butler coaching staff will be a new experience with the addition of two new assistant coaches, Jenna Grim and Jack Lewis.
SERIES HISTORY: St. John's vs. Butler
After a three-game series last year, the all-time matchup between St. John's and Butler is even at 2-2.
In the first meeting as a member of the BIG EAST, the Bulldogs were able to take home a pair of victories away from the Red Storm in the three-game series last year in Queens.
Back in their first ever meeting in 2000, the Red Storm was able to pull away with a 6-5 victory over the Bulldogs.
The Red Storm will return to action next week for an Easter-weekend series with Georgetown, playing a doubleheader on April 2 before rounding out the three-game set with a final game on April 4.
All three games will be carried live on ESPN3 by logging in with a cable provider on WatchESPN.com or via the WatchESPN app on mobile devices.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Softball Mailing List."