It was a long, cold afternoon for the Red Storm during this past Sunday’s doubleheader at The Ballpark at St. John’s.
Notre Dame (20-6, 7-1) batters bashed nine SJU pitchers for 29 runs and 25 hits, including five home runs, and handed the Johnnies lopsided 11-3 and 18-3 losses.
They are two of the worst defeats for the Red Storm (14-15, 4-3) this season. St. John’s Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer knew they ran into a very good baseball team.
“What can you say today. We just got beat,” said Blankmeyer. “This team just came out and swung the bats and we didn’t. They just beat us.”
Notre Dame bats roughed up SJU pitchers all afternoon, but the most telling inning was the Irish’s nine-run fifth in the second game of the doubleheader.
After St. John’s took at 3-1 lead in the third on a single by Mike Rozema and a double by Jesus Bravo, the 19th-ranked Irish sent 14 men to the plate and put the game well out of reach at 15-3.
Notre Dame hammered out nine hits in the inning off St. John’s starter Craig Hansen and reliever Gilbert Fregoso.
Hansen would take the loss, giving up twelve runs on ten hits in four and two-thirds innings of work.
“In the nine-run inning I probably left him out there a little too long. I should have gotten him right away,” said Blankmeyer.
Red Storm pitchers didn’t fair any better in the day’s first game either. Greg Holmes, in relief of Jim Wladyka, who took the loss, surrendered six runs on two hits in the top of the third giving Notre Dame a comfortable 11-1 lead.
The only two hits Holmes gave up were home runs to Matt Edwards and a three-run blast by Cody Rizzo.
Holmes struggled with his control the entire inning as he walked three and hit two batters.
While SJU pitchers couldn’t seem to quiet the Irish hitters, the Notre Dame staff kept the Johnnies bats relatively silent all afternoon.
While the Red Storm did bang out 16 hits on the afternoon, they only managed to score six runs.
In game one of the doubleheader, Derek Sullivan went 3 for 4 and Bravo had two RBI.
Yet the SJU bats were kept from having big innings as Billy Graiser struck out with a man on in the fourth and Anthony DeRosa grounded out to short with two men on to end the sixth.
In the second game, the trend continued.
After the Johnnies put up a three spot in the third, they would manage just two more hits – singles by DeRosa and Greg Thomson – off Notre Dame ace Ryan Kalita and top reliever J.P. Gagne.
The Irish pitchers were able to get St. John’s batters to hit the ball on the ground.
Twelve of the team’s 27 outs came on ground balls to infielders.
Blankmeyer showed some concern for the way his hitters performed.
“The first game I thought we hung in there and gave them some competitive at bats,” said Blankmeyer. “The second game we just had poor approaches and got fooled at times. We need some work.”