By Bob Behre
Seton Hall University sophomore Matt Toke has been named Big East Player of the Week and St. John’s Sean Mooney received his second straight Pitcher of the Week honor when the league’s weekly awards were announced on Monday.
Toke, a graduate of Hunterdon Central (Flemington) and a former Diamond Jack out of Diamond Nation, batted .600 over the weekend when the Pirates (4-5) won two-of-three in the Kissimmee Irish Classic in Florida.
Mooney (3-0), a sophomore righty from Ocean City, shut out U.C. Davis on three hits over five innings and left with a 5-0 lead before St. John’s closed out an 8-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader on Sunday in California. The victory improved St. John’s record to 8-0 but the Red Storm dropped the back end of the doubleheader to absorb their first loss of the season.
Seton Hall nearly swept its three games in Kissimmee and would have had it not been for a two-run Notre Dame rally in the bottom of the ninth inning of the middle game. Toke went 3-for-3, drew two walks, scored a run and drove in a run against the Fighting Irish. He finished 6-for-10 on the weekend with a a double, three runs-scored, five walks and five RBI. Seton Hall defeated Seattle, 14-9, and Youngstown State, 11-3, in the tournament.
The big weekend lifted Toke’s season batting average to .355. The Pirates’ cleanup hitter has four doubles and two home runs among his 11 hits to go with 10 RBI. He boasts a .487 on-base percentage and a hefty .677 slugging percentage. The first baseman has reached base in 18 of his last 20 games dating back to last season.
Mooney received an assist in his victory over U.C. Davis from fellow New Jersey native Kevin Magee, a senior lefty from Pompton Lakes. Magee followed Mooney on the mound and shut out U.C. Davis on four hits over the next three innings, striking out five and walking none. Mooney and Magee steer a dominant pitching staff that has the Red Storm off to an imposing start.
St. John’s pitching staff has limited opponents to 18 runs in its nine games while posting a paltry 1.67 ERA. It’s big start includes a 5-2 victory over No. 6 North Carolina on Feb. 21 and an 18-4 triumph over Penn State on Feb. 25. The Red Storm has held seven of its nine opponents to two runs or fewer. Mooney has permitted just nine hits and one run over 16 innings for a 0.56 ERA while striking out 25 and walking just four. Magee has similarly dominate numbers over 15 innings. He’s allowed nine hits and no runs for 0.00 ERA while striking out 22 and walking none.
(Photo credit St. John's University Athletics)