St. John’s wins 13th straight home opener

Blankmeyer improves to 18-2 in home openers as St. John’s head coach

Brandon Mauk, Assistant Sports Editor

Mother Nature could no longer deny the St. John’s baseball team from winning their 13th consecutive home opener.

Five pitchers combined for a six-hit shutout as the Red Storm defeated Central Connecticut State 3-0, The Red Storm’s record now stands to improve to 9-8 on the season. Head coach Ed Blankmeyer is now 18-2 in his career at St. John’s in home openers.

“I think this has been the longest spell in which we haven’t played a home game,” said Blankmeyer. “Obviously, there’s no place like home. The guys like playing at the Jack. We’re just happy to get onto this field and get some work done.”

The snow that accumulated over the winter in New York forced the Red Storm to move what should have been their first home series last weekend against Holy Cross elsewhere, and the first two games of this weekend’s series against CCSU were canceled. But this didn’t stop the Red Storm from winning their third straight game.

“It feels good to be on the field,” said Cody Stashak, who earned the win in his first home start at St. John’s. “Good to see there’s grass instead of all white.”

Stashak earned his team-leading third win of the season. He struck out 10 batters and allowed just four hits in five innings. CCSU had some chances with runners in scoring position, but Stashak shut the door every time.

“I just get that edge. I just go out and get outs, make sure nobody scores because I don’t like it when people score on me,” he said.

Alex Katz, Joe Kuzia, Matt Clancy and Thomas Hackimer each scored a scoreless inning to finish off the shutout. Kuzia is coming off a career-high 13 strikeout performance on Saint Patrick’s Day against Fairfield. He leads the team with a 1.02 ERA in 17.2 IP.

“We have a great bullpen,” said Stashak. “I have no worries coming out of the game with them getting the job done.”

The offense scored a run with two outs in the second, third and fourth inning. Over a half of St. John’s runs batted in have come with two outs this season. Freshman OF Anthony Brocato and senior RF Zach Lauricella had the first two RBI’s and junior catcher Tyler Sanchez hit an RBI triple to finish the scoring in the fourth.

“I think just when we have guys on base it’s really simple,” said sophomore OF Michael Donadio, who went 2-for-4 with a double and scored. “I just try to get the guy in, try to just get ahead in the count and hit the ball hard. It’s been working for us so far.”

The Johnnies had trouble consistently driving runners in with runners in scoring position, as they left 10 players on base.

“Offensively, I think we’re going to be pretty good, but we are, I called it, ‘disjointed,’” said Blankmeyer. “We have some guys who are doing nice jobs and some other people are struggling. When we start rolling and figuring this thing out and getting some at-bats they’ll be fine.”

St. John’s won their first game of a nine-game homestand leading into conference play. Things are trending up for them as the weather continues to warm up.

St. John’s beat Saint Peter’s 3-2 on Tuesday to improve to 10-8 on the year.