Series split

The St. John’s baseball team salvaged a weekend series split with Cal State Northridge with an 11-6 victory
on Sunday.

“Whenever you can go .500 on the road it’s always good,” said head coach Ed Blankmeyer, “but do I think we could’ve done better? Yes.”

After losing Friday’s opener, 6-5, in the bottom of the ninth on John Parham’s bouncing RBI groundball that went just over the glove of shortstop Jeff Grantham, the Red Storm responded in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader with an offense-filled 10-4 win on Saturday. The Johnnies 16 hits against Matador pitching were a season high.

The Johnnies led the second game until the bottom of the eighth inning when two passed balls and a Richard Cates triple gave Northridge an 8-7 lead. The game was suspended in the same inning due to darkness.

“It was one of those things where [the umpires] possibly could’ve started [the inning], probably shouldn’t have started [the inning],” said Blankmeyer. “As the inning progressed they benefited and, obviously, we didn’t.”

When they picked it up again on Sunday the Red Storm had just one chance at bat left, which it squandered when Edwin Quirarte grounded into a game-ending double play with runners on first and third.

But it was its second double-digit run total of the series and some quality starting pitching that would put the positive punctuation on the west coast trip
for St. John’s.

The Red Storm sent junior Jared Yecker to the mound for the finale and he responded with six-plus innings and allowed just two earned runs. After the Matadors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first-with the assistance of a Yecker fielding error-the right-hander settled down and retired eight straight hitters.

“I thought Jared Yecker was solid,” said Blankmeyer. “He gave us a chance the whole game.”

By the third the Johnnies had erased the Cal State lead and by the fourth it had one of its own. Junior Carlos Del Rosario singled and made his way to second with one out. After junior Gino Matias walked, sophomore Brian Kemp smacked the first pitch of his at-bat over the left centerfield fence. Kemp’s second long ball of his career put the Red Storm up 5-2.
“He’s a singles-doubles guy,” said Blankmeyer about his young outfielder. “But every once in a while he puts a good swing on the ball. But we can’t count on 12-15 homeruns from [Kemp].”

The Red Storm took advantage of Cal State’s wild pitching in the seventh and put the game out of reach. First, Chris Anninos blasted a two-run homerun and put the Red Storm up 7-4. Ryan Juarez then loaded the bases with a hit batter and two consecutive walks.

Matador head coach Steve Rousey pulled Juarez and brought in Billy Ott, but the story was the same. Ott walked in a run and gave up RBI singles to Maitas and Kemp to give the Johnnies an 11-4 lead.

Luis Monell pitched the last three innings for the Red Storm. The lefty struck out four Matadors and earned his first save in the process.