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College Round-Up: St. John’s heads to Rice regional

The St. John’s baseball team is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season as the squad earned a No. 3 seed in the Houston Regional, hosted by Rice University. The Red Storm (41-14) will face No. 2 seed Texas (37-20) to open play Friday at 3 p.m. Rice (42-13), the No. 1 seed in the region and the No. 6 national seed, will face No. 4 seed Sam Houston State at 7 p.m. on the other side of the bracket.

This is the Red Storm’s fourth NCAA appearance in the past five seasons and its fifth since head coach Ed Blankmeyer’s 13 years. The squad will be representing St. John’s in the NCAA Tournament for the 31st time in school history.

Both Rice and St. John’s earned at-large bids, while Texas and Sam Houston State earned the automatic bids from the Big 12 and Southland Conference, respectively.

The Red Storm had a chance to host a regional at Jack Kaiser Stadium with a strong showing in last week’s Big East tournament, but dropped their first two games and were ousted much earlier than expected.

St. John’s won its second straight Big East regular-season title this season and reached the 40-win plateau for a school record fourth-straight season. The team also tied school records with 41 wins and 20 Big East wins. Blankmeyer was named the conference’s coach of the year for the second straight season, while George Brown was tabbed the Big East pitcher of the year and a school record-tying eight players earned All-Big East honors.

Bayside native pitches Seawolves into tournament. Junior Mike Errigo, a Cardozo graduate, hurled a five-hitter as the No. 2 Stony Brook baseball team won its second America East Championship in five years with a 6-0 victory over No. 1 Binghamton at Farmingdale State College on Saturday night to earn the conference’s automatic bid to the 2008 NCAA Tournament.

Errigo was brilliant for the Seawolves (34-24), striking out six and walking just two while scattering just five hits over his nine innings of work. The right-hander did not allow a Binghamton (29-27) runner past second base and completed a stretch of 19 consecutive scoreless innings by Seawolves pitching during the tournament.

Stony Brook’s is headed to Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., this weekend to compete in the NCAA tournament.

The fourth-seeded Seawolves will face off against No. 1 seed and host Arizona State in the opening round of the double-elimination regional tournament. Also joining the Seawolves in Tempe will be Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.

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