Red Storm Drops First Conference Against Nova

As the Yankees and Mets began play last week, St. John’s started their most important stretch of the season. The Red Storm opened conference play and dropped two out of three games at Villanova. Each game went down to the wire and were decided by one or two runs.

Junior shortstop Jerred Mederos was the star, going 8-for-17 at the dish with eight runs batted in and four walks during the entire week. Against Villanova, he went 6-for-10 with five RBI. He was named BIG EAST Player of the Week for his brilliance at the plate, and is now hitting .343 on the season with a team-leading 23 RBI.

St. John’s (17-13, 1-2) took Friday’s series opener by a score of 7-5 thanks to a five-run rally in the eighth inning capped by Tyler Sanchez’s three-run double. Down 5-2, Jerred Mederos singled in Robert Wayman, and Sanchez cleared the bases with his two-base hit to left field. Freshman Robbie Knightes brought Sanchez in as an insurance run with an RBI single-up the middle.

Joe Kuzia worked out of a jam at the bottom of the eighth inning and closed out the game in the ninth for a four-out save, his fourth of the season. Shawn Heide earned his third win of the season in relief of James Lomangino, who gave up five runs in six innings.

Villanova (10-18, 2-1) took the second game of the weekend with a late comeback of their own. Matt Harris went 3-for-4 with two RBI and Ryan McCormick cruised until a fateful seventh. He surrendered just two earned runs and struck out eight Wildcats in 6.1 innings pitched.

St. John’s took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh, but Villanova scored three unearned runs thanks to a passed ball, an RBI groundout and the go-ahead single by Max Beerman. The Red Storm staged a rally in the ninth and loaded the bases with two outs, but pinch hitter Bret Dennis flew out to end the game, a 5-4 Villanova victory.

The Red Storm jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Sunday’s series finale on a single by Mederos. However, they were doomed by the big inning again, as Villanova scored all their runs with two outs in the second inning. Tyler Sanchez dropped what would have been an inning ending pop-up, and the Wildcats responded with six runs in the frame.

Down 6-2, St. John’s chipped away at Villanova’s lead and cut it to a one-run game. They managed to get the tying run in scoring position in each of the last three innings, but they could not cash in. The Red Storm stranded eight runners on base in the game.

St. John’s continues conference play this weekend for a three-game series at Jack Kaiser Stadium against Butler (13-17, 2-1). Saturday’s game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 2, while the other two games will be on