St. John’s takes down Princeton, 9-1

Brandon Mauk, Digital Sports Manager

St. John’s used a six-run rally in the fourth inning to take out Princeton 9-1 Wednesday, ahead of a huge conference series against Creighton.

The Red Storm (20-12) jumped ahead 3-1 in the bottom of the second inning via a fielder’s choice by Troy Dixon and a two-out two-run single by Alex Caruso.

“We really try to battle and put the ball into play,” first baseman Matt Harris said. “Try to get a hit, score some runs.”

Harris went 2-for-4 with two RBI to help put away Princeton in the fourth. Catcher Tyler Sanchez hit a two-run double and Caruso had another RBI on a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to five. Robbie Knightes reached on a throwing error by the pitcher, which scored a run and Harris hit a two-run single the other way down the left field line that just stayed fair.

“We practice a lot going the other way in batting practice. It really translates over into games,” Harris said, who leads the team with a .905 OPS and has a .333 batting average. “We try to stay inside the ball and hit it the other way.”

Harris isn’t the only one raking either. After a slow start to the season, Troy Dixon is swinging a hot bat. He went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI to raise his batting average to .299. Tyler Sanchez doesn’t get a lot of hits, but he makes them count, including the double tonight.

“It definitely helps when the bottom half is putting runs up and getting on base for the upper half to get them in,” Harris said. “Hopefully they keep doing this so we can keep scoring runs.”

Sanchez and Dixon are part of the reason why St. John’s is averaging 5.6 runs per game in their last 18 games. They’ve gone 14-4 in that span going back to March 15. The lineup is a lot more dangerous now.

St. John’s used eight pitchers they don’t normally use to save their main starters and relievers for a monumental series over the weekend at Creighton. The Blue Jays and Red Storm are tied atop the Big East with a 5-1 conference record.