Nick Luisi wasn’t discouraged after a sloppy first inning.
After allowing three runs in the top of the opening inning against Georgetown, the sophomore left-hander knew his offense would get the St. John’s baseball team back into the game – as long as he held the Hoyas from breaking it open.
“I knew that I had to keep throwing zeros after that,” Luisi said, “because I knew our offense would come back to score runs.”
He did and so did they.
Luisi did not allow another run and the St. John’s offense broke through with a six-run fifth inning to defeat Georgetown, 9-3, on Sunday afternoon at the Ballpark at St. John’s.
The win completed the sweep of a three-game series against the Hoyas.
“The beginning of the game I was rushing my pitches a little bit,” Luisi said. “I was trying to do too much.”
But he eased up after a first inning in which he only allowed one hit, but walked three. His lone mistake was a fastball to Brandon Davis that went for a two-RBI double deep to right field.
From there, he only allowed two hits and didn’t allow a single run. He ended up going six innings, striking out eight and only allowing those three runs on three hits, before freshman Rich Armento came in with a runner on in the seventh.
“He got his composure and kept us in the ballgame,” coach Ed Blankmeyer said of Luisi.
Armento, a right-handed St. Francis Prep product, pitched the final three innings, striking out three, for his second save of the season.
The good pitching from the first inning on wouldn’t have made a difference without the St. John’s offense – which is on an absolute tear.
The bottom of the fifth saw 10 men come to bat and included five St. John’s (18-7, 6-0) hits against Georgetown (12-17, 1-5) right-hander Daniel Kennedy. Hoyas starter Michael Gaggioli left after only allowing one hit in two innings.
Anthony Smith, Jeff Grantham, Chris Anninos and Gil Zayas all had RBIs in the fifth – part of an offensive team effort that is starting to become the Red Storm’s trademark.
“I’ve never been on a team that hits the ball like this – it’s unbelievable,” Zayas said.
The Johnnies scored three more times in the seventh. The nine runs was their lowest total in the three games. Friday they scored 10 and yesterday they had 15.
“(As a pitcher), you love it,” Luisi added. “You don’t have to worry about throwing shutouts every game.”
Everyone in the St. John’s starting lineup had a hit – besides Grantham, who had an RBI. Will Vogl, Bryan Dirr and Jarod Hickle all contributed an RBI, as well. Smith led the team with two runs driven in.
“The whole season we’ve been picking each other up,” said Zayas, a sophomore third baseman. – “Everybody is coming through with big hits.”
The Red Storm has won 11 in a row and has swept two consecutive Big East series – last week against Villanova was the first.
Being down three runs before even coming to bat proved pretty insignificant after all, according to Zayas: “We could pick up those three runs easily.”
St. John’s 15, Georgetown 9
Anninos had five RBIs and two home runs – including a grand slam – in the Red Storm’s rain-soaked victory in the second game of the series against the Hoyas on Saturday.
Will Vogl added three RBIs. Sam DeLuca, Grantham and Zayas all had two apiece.
Left-hander Scott Barnes started but was removed after an hour rain delay. Justin Muir picked up the win in relief.
St. John’s 10, Georgetown 3
Anninos had a homer and drove in a run, and Matt Tosoni pitched 3.2 scoreless innings in relief to propel the Johnnies to victory in the first game of the series Friday.
Starter Rob Delaney got the win after pitching 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and striking out nine.