NEW YORK (AP) — Ed Blankmeyer expected his St. John’s baseball team to have a solid start this season. But not even the veteran coach could have predicted the Red Storm to roll like this.
They’re 19-2, the program’s best opening to a season since the 1981 squad that featured future major leaguers Frank Viola and John Franco won 26 of its first 27 games.
Baseball America has St. John’s ranked No. 14 in the country, tying its highest spot in that poll since that squad 36 years ago.
“For us to get off to this type of start, you have to be running on all cylinders,” Blankmeyer said. “And at this point, we’re lucky to be running on all cylinders.”
St. John’s, which beat Wagner 6-2 on Wednesday, was tied for second in the country with a .334 team batting average. The Red Storm’s 2.61 ERA ranked eighth, making them the only Division I team to place in the top 10 in both categories.
“It’s unusual to have everybody getting off to such a good start, really unusual,” Blankmeyer said. “That’s something that was nice to see because what that’s done is we’ve gained momentum.”
The Red Storm are also at No. 5 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, their best ranking since the school’s last College World Series team in 1980 — also with Viola and Franco. St. John’s is ranked No. 13 in both the USA Today Coaches’ and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association polls, and No. 15 by D1Baseball.com.
“It’s been a blast,” said redshirt-junior first baseman John Valente, who had a school-record 30-game hitting streak snapped last week. “I think it all comes down…