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College Baseball Countdown: 92 Days to Go - Thomas Hackimer

If you’re just jumping aboard our countdown to college baseball’s opening day, click here for an introductory post explaining what we’re doing.

St. John’s fielded one of the best teams in the Ed Blankmeyer era last season. They finished 41-16, won the Big East, and advanced to a regional final in the Stillwater Regional, before eventually bowing out after a one-run loss to eventual College World Series team Arkansas. That team leaned on veteran leadership, and anytime that’s the case, you’re going to have some rebuilding to do in the near future.

Heading into 2016, the Johnnies do have quite a bit of production to replace, but in closer Thomas Hackimer, they have a holdover who can be counted among the elite relief pitchers in all of college baseball.

Over his three seasons for the Red Storm, he has been an effective reliever. But after spending his first two seasons as a pitcher who threw one inning per outing or less, he proved to be incredibly durable last season. He threw 51.2 innings over 35 appearances, all the while saving 15 games and sporting a 1.92 ERA. In those 51.2 innings, he struck out 55, allowed opposing teams to hit just .177 against him, and gave up just four extra-base hits, all of which were doubles.

When the MLB Draft came around, Hackimer was drafted in the 15th round by the New York Mets. Instead of signing, though, he decided to return to campus for one more season with the Red Storm.

Any program would love to have a guy like that return for his senior season after being drafted, but Hackimer’s return is particularly important for a St. John’s team that lost its seven most effective pitchers, outside of Hackimer, of course, after last season. Among returning pitchers who appeared in more than seven games last season, Joey Graziano had the best numbers, with a 6.11 ERA in 18 relief appearances.

St. John’s is a program known for continually developing pitchers year after year, but until those guys emerge as the season rolls on, Blankmeyer and company will lean hard on Hackimer to shorten games.

Joe Healy was first introduced to college baseball when he grew up watching the likes of Jeff Niemann, Philip Humber, and Wade Townsend pitch for Rice University. To say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. That love only grew as he went off to college at Sam Houston State University, where he practically lived at Don Sanders Stadium watching his Bearkats under the direction of the legendary Mark Johnson. He holds a B.A. in political science from SHSU and is working toward his Masters in Public Administration from SIU-Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Illinois.