Catcher Roxann Struble led off the bottom third of St. John’s softball lineup, batting seventh. But, with the offense the Red Storm possesses, she had plenty of chances to do damage anyway.
And she made the most of them in the team’s 6-3 victory over Syracuse in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday at Red Storm Field.
“I thought the bottom of the order did a great job,” coach Debbie DeJong said. “We usually look to the top of our order but all nine of our batters did well.”
With St. John’s (18-12, 2-2) losing 3-0 in the fourth, Jo Sherlock belted one deep to left and over the fielder’s head for a double.
She was soon driven in by Lauren Lupinetti, who singled on a hard liner up the middle. She advanced to second on an error by the centerfielder.
After Megan Oliver singled to left field and Loren Anguiano struck out looking,
Struble was at the plate with two outs, hoping to get her team back in the game.
She did just that. Hitting it into the gap, the ball rolled all the way to the wall, right between left and center.
Lupinetti and Oliver both scored and although Struble was gunned down trying to stretch her double into a triple, the game was tied at three.
Syracuse (14-14, 3-1) had scored its runs on a single by Heather Kim in the first and by Alexis Switenko and Erin Gray in the third.
Lisa Geer, the St. John’s starter, was tough but was the victim of her defense.
She pitched three innings and struck out two, giving up three runs, only one earned.
“She got into a good zone – a good routine.” DeJong said. “I thought she did a good job.”
Syracuse’s starter, Erin Downey, looked brilliant for the first three innings, shutting down St. John’s offense.
But the Red Storm broke through in the fourth.
Downey pitched six innings, giving up 10 hits and seven runs, five earned.
“Erin is a very good pitcher,” said DeJong. “[But] I don’t think any pitcher can shut us down for long.”
In the top of the fifth, the Johnnies added their go-ahead runs, on an error by the center fielder allowing Blair Belloni to score and a sacrifice fly by Tami Hill.
Jessica Foley entered the game in relief of Geer and was strong, pitching four innings and giving up only one earned run on two hits.
Despite giving up a home run in the bottom of the seventh to Rachel Tilford, Foley held on for her sixth win of the season.
The win came directly after a loss in the first game of the doubleheader, in which they had gotten shut out.
Said DeJong: “I was hoping they threw the same pitcher because I don’t think that anybody can last two games against us.”
Syracuse 5, St. John’s 0
Downey was the story of the day, throwing a complete-game shutout against St. John’s high-powered offense.
She pitched all seven innings, giving up only four hits and two walks the entire time. She struck out nine St. John’s batters in her effort.
Pittsburgh 5, St. John’s 2
Junior designated player Loren Anguiano had three hits and two runs scored in a losing effort, as the Red Storm was defeated by the Panthers at Trees Field in Pittsburgh, Pa., in the second game of a doubleheader.
St. John’s 9, Pittsburgh 4
The Red Storm smashed three home runs and starting pitcher Kimberly Lerch allowed no earned runs in four innings in the opener of the doubleheader against the Panthers.
Freshman Lupinetti, Anguiano and Sherlock all homered for St. John’s in the victory.