St. Johnâ€™s-Georgetown Matchup Opens Citi Field
St. John’s-Georgetown Matchup Opens Citi Field
By Dan Miller
The first game ever played at Citi Field, the rubber match of a three-game series between St. John’s University and Georgetown University, took place on Sunday, March 29. The New York Mets, who will call Citi Field home when the regular Major League Baseball season opens, are still in spring training in Florida, and so the Mets organization took the opportunity to test out the new ballpark with a Big East college game. The previous two games were played in Washington D.C and when the Mets organization offered the opportunity, both teams agreed to play the third game at Citi Field. Although the game was played in New York City, St. John’s was listed as the visiting team. Georgetown defeated the Red Storm, 6-4. A throng of 42,000 is due to show up for the Mets home opener at 7:10 p.m. on April 13.
Former Mets reliever John Franco threw out the ceremonial first pitch. “When Jeff Wilpon called and offered me the opportunity to throw out the first pitch I jumped at it,” Franco, a former hurling star at St. John’s and the franchise leader in saves for the New York Mets, said with a smile. He added, “I think the Jackie Robinson Rotunda is great. They did an extraordinary job there.”
While the Red Storm and the Hoyas battled, most of the fans seemed more interested in walking around the ballpark and spending time in the lounges, where there were plenty of plasma TVs for viewing the action on the field. It was obvious that the ballpark was not complete. Foot markers on the outfield walls were missing, as were lids on cups for soft drinks. The Mets promised to get everything right for their inaugural home game at Citi Field.
Hoyas starter No. 30 Tim Adelman (2-3) threw the first pitch of the game to St. John’s Center Fielder Brian Kemp, who flew out to left. The second batter for SJU, Designated Hitter Matt Wessinger, grounded out to short on the first pitch. The third batter, Right Fielder Jimmy Parque, grounded out to short on a 2-0 count.
The St, John’s starter set down Tommy Lee, the first Hoya batter. The second batter, Tom Elliott, singled sharply to center for the first hit at Citi Field.
The first hit at Citi Field for St. John’s was made by First Baseman Tim Morris, who hit a hard liner to center field with no one out in the top of the second inning. He was followed by Shortstop Jose Panik, who also singled, moving Morris to second with no out. Left Fielder Carlos Del Rosario, batting .323, grounded out to first, moving both runners to second and third, where they were stranded without scoring.
Georgetown’s Dan Capeless crushed a double over the head of Del Rosario to score the first run ever at Citi Field while Del Rosario had to go back to the wall to retrieve the ball. The next batter, No. 8, Catcher Gregg Pustizzi, singled to left, scoring Capeless.
With two runners on base and two men out, Lobban hit Hoyas Center Fielder Tommy Lee, loading the bases. Lee was credited with having been the very first batter to be hit. There was no further damage, though as the next batter flied out to center. The Hoyas led, 1-0.
Brian Kemp scored the first run for the Red Storm in the third inning in a bases-loaded situation in which Morris grounded to second and Georgetown Infielder Andy Lentz booted the ball, allowing Kemp to score from third. Panik sent two runs home on a single to right, giving SJU a 3-1 lead. In another Citi Field first, Georgetown’s Sean Lamont blasted the first Citi Field home run over the left field wall, about 350 feet from home plate, against St. John’s starter Lobban, The Red Storm was led by Panik, who went 2-4 with two runs batted in, and right fielder Jimmy Parque, who went 3-4 with one run scored.
Georgetown’s 12-hit attack was led by three players, Lamont, Capeless and Pustizzi, each with two hits and a run batted in. The winning pitcher was Adelman, who pitched eight innings, giving up seven hits and four runs, three earned to gain his seventh win of the season. Lobban went six innings for St. John’s, gave up two runs on seven hits and walked only one batter. He was relieved in the seventh by Nick Cenatiempo, who faced only three batters and gave up three runs on three hits and took the loss for the Red Storm.