SJU drops three to James Madison

The St. John’s baseball team left their weekend series at James Madison with a feeling of disappointment, lingering questions of why they have played so inconsistently thus far this season and three more losses added to their record.

“This weekend was definitely disappointing,” St. John’s Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer said. “But it was not for a lack of effort, I thought the team played hard but we just played too inconsistently.”

The Red Storm (4-11) was swept in a doubleheader on Saturday, losing the first game, 21-9, and the nightcap, 9-8.

They followed those games up with a frustrating 2-1 loss on Sunday.

“I still feel we have a solid team despite the slow start,” Blankmeyer said. “It is just taking us some time to develop into a consistent club.”

In the opener, the Red Storm scored nine runs, but Greg Holmes was touched for 12 earned runs on 15 hits in 5.1 innings as James Madison cruised to a 21-9 win.

Greg Thomson went 2 for 4 with three RBI to lead the Red Storm, Drew Jackson had three hits and drove in two runs and Mike Rozema had three hits.

In the second game, James Madison broke an 8-all tie in the bottom of the sixth inning when Travis Ebaugh singled off St. John’s reliever Tom Klemm, moved to second on a flyout and scored on a single from Eddie Kim.

Travis Miller then retired the side in order to close out the game.

The Red Storm trailed 2-0 in the second, but scored a pair of runs on RBI singles from DeRosa and catcher Asa Grunenwald to tie the game.

The Dukes, however, responded with three runs in the third off sophomore starter Jim Wladyka, taking a 5-2 lead.

The Red Storm tied the game in the sixth on a two-run single from senior Ray Downs, but the hosts scored the decisive run in the seventh.

Downs went 3 for 4 with two doubles, a single, two runs scored and two RBI, while DeRosa hit three singles, scored three runs and drove in one.

“When our pitching was on its game we could not hit and when our offense was clicking we couldn’t get anyone out,” Blankmeyer said.

On Sunday, the Dukes had jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Kurt Isenberg singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Matt Deuchler.

The Red Storm tied the game in the sixth when Derek Sullivan was hit by a pitch, and eventually scored on a balk by Brian Leatherwood.

However, some costly defensive mistakes late in the game prevented the Storm from salvaging a victory.

With runners on first and second, Isenberg then grounded a potential double-play ball to short, but the relay throw to first base by Sullivan sailed out of play.

The error allowed pinch-runner Michael Cowgill to score the winning run.

The loss overshadowed a terrific pitching performance by both Klemm and Joe Reid.

Reid scattered four hits over seven innings, striking out 11 and walking one.

“I was very impressed with Reid and Klemm in the last game,” Blankmeyer said. “It is just unfortunate that neither of them could notch a victory.”

The Red Storm are hoping that some home cooking will do them well as they will host Fairfield on Wednesday afternoon at The Ballpark.

“We are looking forward to being home,” Blankmeyer said. “We always have a very tough schedule and playing in someone else’s venue makes it even more difficult. We are hoping to turn it around at our house.”