Freshman Morris no-hitter highlight of Softball opening weekend

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Freshman Madison Morris made her mark in her collegiate debut, tossing a no-hitter in a 12-0 St. John's victory Saturday (Photo: Twitter @StJohnsSoftball)

Will Harris, Staff Writer

St. John’s softball kicked off the 2016 season with highs and lows at the FIU Invitational in Miami. Their high point was the dazzling debut of one of their freshman pitchers, but the defending Big East champions dropped three of five during Opening Weekend.

After dropping a season opening double-header to LIU Brooklyn and No. 10 Florida State on Friday, the Red Storm responded Saturday. Freshman Madison Morris threw a no-hitter against Valparaiso in her debut as a Johnny on five shut-out innings and struck out three, as St. John’s got their first victory of the year 12-0.

Morris got more than enough support on offense Saturday, as Krystal Puga and Christina Melendez hit back-to-back home runs, and senior Carly Williams hit a grand slam to complete their seven run first inning.

On Friday, the Red storm played two games. One against the Blackbirds of LIU Brooklyn and the other against No. 10 Florida State Seminoles. Both games ended up being losses for the Johnnies.

During their first game against LIU, St. John’s was shut out in the first six innings and trailed 3-0 before the final frame. In that final inning, freshman Christina Melendez’s two-run double got them to within one, With one out senior Yvonne Rericha hit a hard line drive up the middle that was snared by the shortstop, and Melendez was doubled off second to end the game.

Like in the first game, the Red Storm couldn’t score in the first six innings on Friday night against Florida State, as they squandered a bases-loaded situation with no outs in the third inning. Two runs in the seventh were not enough as they lost 5-2.

St. John’s could not build on Morris’ no-hitter in the nightcap on Saturday, as host FIU held them to a 6-1 loss.

St. John’s salvaged the trip to Miami with a 4-0 win over Illinois, as they got another dominating pitching performance from junior Grace Kramer. She pitched a two-hit shutout, walking none and striking out three.  

The Red Storm offense came out the gate fast in support of Kramer. Christina Melendez hit RBI singles in the first and fourth, and Savannah Warren hit a two-run double in the third.  

St. John’s will return to the southeastern region of the United States on Monday, February 23rd in Atlanta, Ga to play a doubleheader against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at 4p.m.