In the series finale against UConn last Sunday, No. 22 St. John’s managed to squeeze out a 1-0 win thanks to the outstanding pitching of Jared Yecker, Colin Lynch and Miguel Valcarcel.
Yecker picked up his third win of the season for the Red Storm (25-8, 9-3 Big East) and struck out six batters in the process.
Valcarcel, who was brought in during the top of the seventh, struck out two batters in two innings of work. Closer Colin Lynch notched his tenth save of the season by striking out two batters in the top of the ninth.
“We pitched outstanding this series. Our offense was struggling but our defense really came through,” head coach Ed Blankmeyer said.
The Red Storm had only two hits in the game, both coming from senior right fielder Chris Anninos.
In the bottom of the fifth, Anninos advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior left fielder Carlos Del Rosario. The Huskies (18-17, 6-9 Big East) turned a double play on the next play, but Anninos scored the game-winning run.
“We grinded this one out,” freshman third baseman Greg Hopkins said. “We’ll take a win. We came back strong from the first game to win the next two and the series…We have Pittsburgh next weekend and we’ll bring the fire and look to keep winning.”
This series marked senior shortstop Jeff Grantham’s first Big East action since he broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch on March 15.
“It feels much better to be playing on the field then sitting on the bench,” said Grantham, who has been struggling on the offensive end since his return.
“Jeff catches the ball,” Blankmeyer added. “He’s one of our leaders on the field. He’s been struggling offensively, but once he get’s that back he’ll be fine.”
St. John’s will return to Big East play when they travel to Pittsburgh the weekend of April 18.
In game two of the UConn series, the Red Storm’s hot-and-heavy offense propelled them to a 10-5 win.
The Red Storm built a 9-0 lead by the bottom of the sixth and survived a rally from the Huskies late in the game.
Del Rosario went 3-for-5 with five RBIs, while Hopkins went 2-for-5 and picked up three RBIs in the game. Designated hitter Paul Karmas had three doubles and an RBI. Senior right fielder Anninos went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a pair of doubles.
Senior lefty George Brown picked up his seventh win of the season. He struck out six and kept the Huskies from crossing the plate.
Despite a rally in the bottom of the ninth, St. John’s fell to UConn in the first game of the weekend series.
Lefty Scott Barnes (4-2) picked up the loss despite striking out eight in seven innings.
After four scoreless innings, the Huskies sturck first, getting runs from freshman first basemen Mike Nemeth and senior outfielder Gordon Stevens.
Red Storm senior third basemen Gil Zayas would pick up an RBI in the ninth scoring classmate Anninos.
“We didn’t have many opportunities to score,” Blankmeyer said. “We’re trying to find ourselves offensively. We need to resurrect some guys with their bats and injuries are hurting us.”