Softball splits

Saturday afternoon’s double-header at Red Storm Field was bittersweet for the St. John’s softball team.

After suffering a crushing 4-2 loss to the Seton Hall Pirates, the Red Storm rebounded to take the second game 5-4. The split series brings their record to 9-26 on the season and keeps their post-season hopes alive, despite having a 3-7 record in-conference.

“Regarding the record, do I think we’re better than [our record says] we are? Absolutely,” coach Amy Kvilhaug said. “I believe in the upward swing of this team and what we can do.”

Although she was saddled with the loss, starting pitcher Lisa Geer put in a solid performance for the Red Storm in the first game, allowing just one run until the top of the seventh inning. Junior infielder Danielle Estrada hit a two-run shot off the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth for her second home run of the year, and put St. John’s up 2-1 going into the seventh.
Unfortunately, Seton Hall would rally in the top of the seventh. With two outs and runners in scoring position, leftfielder Jenna Best singled to drive in two runs and put the Pirates ahead 4-2.

The Red Storm’s last chance came and went when Roxann Struble flied out to center with two outs and a runner on second.

Game two started off with Estrada once again putting St. John’s on the board, this time with a solo home run in the second inning to give the Red Storm a 1-0 lead. Estrada would end the day with two home runs and four RBIs.

“I’ve been working really hard the last few weeks. I knew it was going to pay off,” she said.

Although Seton Hall would answer with two runs and briefly take the lead in the top of the third, the Red Storm came to life in the bottom of the inning. Senior Loren Anguiano led off with a double to deep center field and later scored off an error by the Pirates’ Madon Maile to tie the game at two runs each. Seton Hall pitcher Kim Schweitzer, who started both games, gave up a walk to Estrada with the bases loaded to bring in Struble and give St. John’s the lead. Catcher Brandy Reyes then scored on an error by her Seton Hall counterpart Christa Leighton, giving the Red Storm a 4-2 advantage.

Rookie leftfielder Ona Halladay led off the bottom of the fourth with a double and scored what later proved to be the game-winning run off a sacrifice fly from Anguiano. After the Pirates scored two runs in the top of the sixth, Geer was brought in to relieve the Red Storm’s Kim Lerch. Geer pitched a shutout to give St. John’s a 5-4 win and earn her first save on the season.
“I’m proud of my team for coming out and getting this win,” Geer said.

She added: “We’re going up, we keep getting better.”

Despite a less-than-stellar season record, the Red Storm’s hopes for making it into the Big East championship tournament are still very much alive. They are currently just outside the eighth and final playoff spot in the standings.