The boisterous St. John's dugout reacts to Michael Donadio's homer against UNC (Aaron Fitt)


WeePre Spotlight: St. John’s

Weekend Preview

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Since 2004, St. John’s has been made eight trips to the NCAA tournament, and its longest postseason drought in that stretch is two years. The Red Storm never stays down for long in the Ed Blankmeyer era, and it has repeatedly exceeded modest expectations to make regionals when nobody was looking.

So maybe you were sleeping on the Johnnies after they went 28-26 overall last year, 9-9 in the Big East and missed the NCAA tournament. But plenty of people are looking at St. John’s now, after it has gotten off to an 8-0 start, with quality wins against SoCon favorite Western Carolina, defending national champion Coastal Carolina and 6-2 Kansas State. St. John’s burst into the D1Baseball Top 25 this week, and it backed up that ranking by handing No. 9 North Carolina its first loss of the season on Wednesday, 5-4. This veteran bunch is loaded with confidence and momentum heading into the Keith LeClair Classic this weekend in Greenville, N.C., where the Johnnies will take on WCU again, plus a very good East Carolina club and Appalachian State.

It’s early, but this St. John’s club has the talent, experience and makeup to make a lot of noise in 2017. That postseason drought doesn’t look likely to reach two years this spring.

“We’re gonna get back,” Blankmeyer said matter-of-factly after beating the Tar Heels.

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