The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Red Storm sweep weekend series with Hofstra

The Red Storm completed a three game weekend series sweep over Hofstra (3-13) last Sunday with a 7-6 come-from-behind victory at The Ballpark at St. John’s.

Eddie Shultz’s single down the third base line in the bottom of the ninth scored Jim Martin, who was 4 for 4 in the game, finishing off the Pride and completing the SJU comeback.

Earlier in his at-bat, a curveball that could have been a called third strike was called a ball, giving Shultz a chance to win the game.

“Baseball is a game of inches and you just have to take advantage of the chances you get,” Shultz said about his final at-bat. “I just tried to step back in there and refocus.”

This was also the Johnnies (8-11) fourth win in a row and St. John’s Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer was happy with what he saw, but knows the team still has to improve. “We still have a long way to go but its always good to be in the win column. We just need to become more consistent,” Blankmeyer said.

One thing the Red Storm were consistent with this weekend were come-from- behind victories.

In Friday’s eight-inning, rain-shortened 5-3 win, Hofstra shortstop Josh Stern’s error in the sixth inning allowed Martin and Mike Rozema to score and give SJU the lead.

Billy Graiser would then single to add an insurance run and reliever Greg Holmes finished off his three innings of scoreless relief to shut the door and earn the win.

On Saturday, the Red Storm fought back once again and got a 7-5 extra-inning victory when Drew Jackson hit a two-run double in the top of the tenth to give the Johnnies the lead.

Jim Wladyka then pitched a scoreless bottom of the inning for the victory.

But even after all the two comeback wins, a victory Sunday looked in jeopardy late in the game.

Hofstra rallied to take a 6-4 lead in the seventh against St. John’s starter Craig Hansen, who gave up six runs, four earned, on eight hits in six innings of work.

Hansen allowed a leadoff double to Hofstra’s Josh Stewart and then committed two throwing errors on a bunt and a pick-off play at second, which allowed Hofstra to tie the game.

After Hansen hit a batter, Holmes came in and gave up a two-run single that allowed Hofstra to grab the lead.

It would be the only hit he gave up in his three innings of work, giving the Johnnies a chance to come back.

“I’m a ground-ball pitcher so I was just trying to keep the ball down and throw strikes,” Holmes said. “That’s when I’m most effective.”

The bat of Shultz was a big reason that Holmes’ performance didn’t go to waste. Shultz finished the day 3 for 5 with four RBI and two runs scored.

In the third he hit a frozen rope double that bounced off the scoreboard in left, scoring Anthony DeRosa and Martin, capping a three-run inning.

He would later score on a Graiser single.

Shultz also got the SJU comeback started in the eighth when he hammered Hofstra’s Brendan Smar’s 1-1 pitch over the Rutgers flag in left-center field, pulling SJU to within a run.

The Red Storm will look to carry their momentum into their first Big East series against Pittsburgh this weekend.

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