Baseball continues hot run with weekend wins

John Cavanagh, Contributing Writer

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The Red Storm continue to climb the college baseball ranks, and adding two wins this weekend will surely help. The ninth ranked Johnnies started it off by beating the Iona Gaels on Friday by a score of 4-3.

The victory was led by a tremendous pitching effort from freshman Sean Mooney, who pitched eight shut-out innings and allowed only three hits. At first, it looked like they wouldn’t be able to reward Mooney. The Red Storm stranded five runners on base in the first four innings, allowing Iona to take a 1-0 lead. However, the dangerous St. John’s lineup finally started to get going.

Junior Jesse Berardi had a big afternoon, going 4-5 with two RBIs, tying the game at one in the top of the fifth. Anthony Brocato joined the party with an RBI single that gave St. John’s a 2-1 lead, and a usual contributor, John Valente, had a double that scored two runs, extending his hit streak to 27 games that dates back to last season.

Down 4-1 in the ninth inning, Iona made a late push that cut the Johnnies lead to one, but freshman southpaw, Joe LaSorsa, forced a key double play to seal the victory, and record his first ever save.

The win moved the Johnnies to 13-2 on the season, but there was little time to rest. The next day, St. John’s took on the UMass Lowell River Hawks at Virginia Wesleyan College, and achieved a similar result.

St. John’s won by a score of 6-3, led once again with a great pitching performance by a freshman. Freshman Jeff Belge struck out seven in six innings to notch his second win of the season, improving to 2-0.

The Red Storm trailed early the day before, but jumped out to a 1-0 lead this time in the top of the fourth. Senior catcher Tony Dixon had his first three hit game of his career vs. Iona, and followed up that performance by getting St. John’s on the board first with an RBI single against UMass Howell.

Dixon’s at bat must’ve been contagious, because Josh Shaw and Mark Venice both drove in a run each to give St. John’s a 3-0 lead in the top of the third.

After cutting the lead to one after six innings, the River Hawks tied the game after seven innings at 3-3. But, like they have almost all season, St. John’s had the final answer.

Jamie Galazin led off the top of the eighth with a walk, his third of the game. After Galazin stole second, the teams hit leader, John Valente, hit a grounder to the shortstop who tried to get Galazin out at third. Galazin was ruled safe, and Valente extended his hit streak to 28 games.

A passed ball allowed Galazin to score from third, and outfielder Michael Donadio hit an RBI single to score Valente.

Tony Dixon recorded his second RBI of the game, and put the game out of reach with the Red Storm leading 6-3 after the eighth.

To close out the victory, another freshman was called upon. Freshman Gavin Hollowell didn’t allow a single hit in the final two innings, and like Joe LaSorsa the day before, recorded his first career save.

The victories against Iona and UMass Howell had a very similar blueprint. This blueprint now has St. John’s at 14-2, and will be put to the test in Connecticut against the Fairfield Stags on March 21 after the game vs. Towson for March 19 was cancelled due to inclement weather.

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