St. John’s baseball’s winning streak was halted at 12 games Sunday when Big East rivals Seton Hall beat the Red Storm in a weekend-series finale, 6-2, at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
St. John’s who had not lost since March 8, has recently received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Poll and is currently ranked No. 22.
Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer noticed a slight difference between the team’s play on Sunday and the previous 12 games.
“The past few weeks, everything has been working very well for us,” he said. “We missed some chances on the bases today and had a couple bad breaks defensively. Seton Hall is a good all-around team, got to give them a lot of credit.”
The Johnnies stranded seven runners in scoring position, which was uncharacteristic of St. John’s, who scores 7.2 runs per game.
Red Storm right fielder Chris Anninos finished Sunday 3-for-4, with a run scored in the third off on Greg Hopkins’ single, which tyed the game at one. Hopkins finished 2-for-5 and extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
St. John’s took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning after Gino Matias walked, advanced on a passed ball, and scored on a Seton Hall throwing error. The fourth inning threat was not over, as Anninos was intentionally walked and Paul Karmas came to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Walking Anninos proved to be a wise choice when Karmas grounded into an inning-ending double-play.
“That could have been the turning-point,” said Blankmeyer. “It had the looks of a big inning, but they pitched out of it beautifully.”
St. John’s sophomore, Miguel Valcarcel, left his season debut as a starter with one out in the fifth inning after giving up four hits and one run. Reliever Michael Aicardi defused a first-and-third, one-out situation by retiring the next two Pirate batters. However, he would find himself in tight jams in the following innings.
After surrendering a single and two walks to load the bases in the sixth, Aicardi gave up a two-run single, giving Seton Hall pitching all the run support it would need.
In the seventh, Aicardo walked one batter and struck out two, before giving up a two-out home run over the leftfield wall to Pirates’ Chris Affinito, his second round-tripper in as many games.
The Red Storm struggled against Pirates starter Greg Miller and his relievers after scoring its two runs. St. John’s struck out nine times and only managed three hits in the last five innings.
Red Storm baseball’s win streak increased to 12 and senior pitcher George Brown improved to 5-0 when St. John’s defeated Seton Hall 10-4 on Saturday.
1-2-3 was the theme for Brown early on, keeping the Pirates scoreless until the fifth inning when he surrendered a walk and back-to-back singles.
Keeping with their score-early trend this season – St. John’s is 12-0 when scoring in the first inning – it was the Red Storm that scored first as Brian Kemp led off the bottom of the first with a triple. After a pair of walks to Chris Anninos and Paul Karmas, the bases were loaded with one out for Greg Hopkins, who drew a walk to bring in Kemp. Carlos Del Rosario then singled to bring in a run and Gil Zayas followed with a two RBI single as St. John’s took a 4-0 lead. Kemp’s three hits led the Red Storm.With two outs, Anninos walked and stole second. Karmas then singled to plate Anninos.
The Johnnies offensive assault continued throughout the game. Gil Zayas batted in his third run in the St. John’s three-run bottom of the seventh.
Brown faced his only jam of the day in the sixth, giving up three runs and cutting St. John’s lead to 7-4.
Red Storm reliever Nick Cenatiempo struck out the side in the eighth and worked a scoreless ninth to earn the save. In three scoreless innings of work, Cenatiempo allowed no hits and struck out four.
St. John’s baseball was victorious in its Big East home opener, defeating Seton Hall 6-4 on Friday at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
St. John’s ace, Scott Barnes, improved to 3-1, and became the seventh pitcher in St. John’s history to reach the 200 strikeout milestone by striking out the Pirates’ Greg Miller in the second. Barnes finished with six strikeouts on Friday and having allowed one run in 7.1 innings.
Offensively, Greg Hopkins had three hits and an RBI, while Chris Anninos connected for his fourth homer of the season.
The St. John’s offense would support Barnes with three runs in the second inning. After Hopkins led off with a single, Carlos Del Rosario drew a walk. Gil Zayas then singled to plate Hopkins and give St. John’s a 1-0 lead.
After a passed ball advanced both runners, Tim Morris and Gino Matias followed with consecutive RBI ground-outs and St. John’s went up 3-0.
The Red Storm collectively batted for the cycle in the three-run sixth. Anninos led off with his home run, and then Paul Karmas missed a homer by inches and settled with a double. Hopkins belted and RBI triple, and was brought home by Tim Morris’ single.
Barnes and reliever Ryan Cole would combine to give up three runs in the eighth. Cole walked a batter to load the bases, and then walked the next batter in for a run, cutting St. John’s lead to three. Closer Colin Lynch was called on early to stop further damage and, after walking in one run, he recorded his sixth save of the year.