St. John’s baseball: Joe Panik hits final out of Game 1 in Wild Card Series

St. John's baseball star Joe Panik (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
St. John's baseball star Joe Panik (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /
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St. John’s baseball product Joe Panik hit into the final out of Game 1 in the inaugural Wild Card Series.

Despite not starting in Game 1 of the inaugural Wild Card Series for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Tampa Bay Rays, Joe Panik could have flipped the game on its head on Tuesday afternoon.

Panik replaced starting second baseman Jonathan Villar as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning with two outs and runners on first and second.

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Trailing 1-0 against Diego Castillo, the right hander had the former Red Storm star in an 0-2 count but Panik ripped a fastball right to shortstop and if it were not for a magnificent play from Rays shortstop Willy Adames, the Blue Jays might have been able to tie or take the lead.

Tampa Bay was able to extend it lead thanks to a 2-run home run from Manuel Margot but the Blue Jays would respond in the top of the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly from Bo Bichette which cut the score to 3-1.

Trailing by two in the top of the ninth inning, Joe Panik stepped to the plate as the tying run against Pete Fairbanks, who had not recorded a save in the regular season.

Despite holding a 1-0 count in his favor, Panik hit a soft line drive to third base that Joey Wendle was able to grab and the Rays won the ballgame 3-1 and took a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-three series.

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Coming into Tuesday’s game, Joe Panik was a .267 hitter in the postseason with one home run and ten RBI in six playoff series, all with the San Francisco Giants.

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Facing elimination and its season on the line, the Toronto Blue Jays will turn to its ace Hyun-Jin Ryu to try and even the series at one game apiece at Tropicana Field with first pitch scheduled for 4:07pm EST on TBS.