Alex Netter capped No. 21 Notre Dame’s sweep of the St. John’s baseball team on Saturday, April 15 in grand fashion. A walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth sunk the Red Storm (22-11, 8-4 Big East) by a score of 7-5.
Notre Dame had won 16 straight games coming into the game.
“As far as I’m concerned, there’s nobody better,” head coach Ed Blankmeyer said.
Scott Barnes started the game for St. John’s but lasted only two innings. He gave up four runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out one. He threw only 24 of his 50 pitches for strikes.
All of the Fighting Irish run production off Barnes came in the second inning when Greg Lopez doubled to knock in two runs. Brett Lilley and Danny Dressman also contributed with RBI base hits.
“They were the better team on that day,” Blankmeyer said.
Matt Tosoni came in to relieve Barnes in the third and spun five scoreless innings, allowing only three hits.
However, Jeff Manship, Notre Dame’s starter, was also very good. He worked seven innings, allowing only two runs while striking out seven batters.
St. John’s offense did not ignite until the eighth inning. When it did, though, it rolled. A leadoff walk by Sam Deluca followed by a Chris Joachim single was enough to knock Manship out of the game.
Mike Dury entered the game and was not nearly as good.
The Red Storm wound up scoring all of their five runs, against him and Kyle Weiland, with the help of run-scoring singles by Anthony Smith, Chris Anninos and Jarod Hickle.
The Johnnies took the lead but could not hold it for long.
Rich Armento entered the game in relief of Tosoni and pitched a scoreless eighth. He stayed in for the ninth but could not hold Notre Dame.
After a lead-off walk, Ross Brezovsky tripled to right field to tie the game. Nettey then sealed the deal with a walk-off homer to send the Storm home empty-handed.
“We walked the leadoff guy,” said Blankmeyer. “The issue is not the homerun, it’s what happened prior to the homerun.”
He added: “We’ve got young guys that have to throw strikes. When you don’t play good baseball, don’t expect to win against good teams.”
St. John’s 7, Notre Dame 13
Vogl and Deluca both had two hits and Chris Anninos had three with two RBI but it was not enough to overcome Notre Dame on April 13. The Fighting Irish were led by designated hitter Matt Bransfield who went four-for-four with two RBI and one walk. Both starters, Luis Monell and Tom Thornton, struggled, giving up a combined 11 earned runs in 5.1 innings.
St. John’s 2, Notre Dame 9
In the first game of the April 13 doubleheader, St. John’s committed six errors behind starter Rob Delaney, causing all six of his runs to be unearned. Joachim paced St. John’s with a three-for-four effort in the loss.
Fairleigh Dickinson 0,
St. John’s 8
Justin Gutsie pitched a brilliant six innings, striking out nine and allowing only three hits and no walks in the second game of an April 18 double-header. Vogl went one-for-three with four RBI and one run scored from the leadoff spot. James Lally pitched a scoreless seventh to shut out Fairleigh Dickinson.
Fairleigh Dickinson 4,
St. John’s 10
St. John’s fell behind early in the first game of the double-header, trailing 3-1 in the second inning. A fourth-inning three-RBI triple by Joachim, however, got St. John’s back into the game. The Storm scored in every inning of the ball game, backing up George Brown, who came on in relief of Colin Lynch in the second inning, and Rich Armento, who closed out the game with a scoreless seventh, including a strikeout.