The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Baseball swept by Pitt to open conference play

The St. John’s baseball team
opened conference play by dropping
three straight on the road over the
weekend to Pittsburgh.

After averaging more than 13 runs per
game on their fi ve game homestand last
week, the Red Storm (12-9, 0-3 Big East)
struggled at the plate, scoring only fi ve
runs in the three game series. Their struggles
were compounded by the quality of
pitching they saw. The three Pittsburgh
starters they faced are a combined 15-0
and all have ERAs under three.

“They’re tough,” said Head Coach Ed
Blankmeyer. “But it’s nothing we haven’t
seen and nothing we haven’t been around.

We didn’t swing the bats and didn’t make
adjustments.”

Friday’s game featured strong
outputs from both starting pitchers.
After giving up a two-run home run in
the fi rst inning, St. John’s senior starter
Bruce Kern settled down, giving up
just one run in the next 5 2/3 innings.

He was outpitched, however, by
Pittsburgh starter Corey Baker. Baker,
who improved to 6-0 on the season
with the win, went seven innings, and
allowed just one run on fi ve hits.

The Johnnies’ best chance to get to
Baker came in the fi rst inning. They
loaded the bases with nobody out with
sophomore shortstop Joe Panik at the
plate. Panik hit a sacrifi ce fl y and Baker
struck out the next two batters and St.
John’s came away with just one run.

Baker shut out the Johnnies for the
rest of the game and the Pittsburgh
offense provided just enough offense
to give him a 4-1 victory.

Saturday’s game, a 13-1 rout, got
out of hand early. Pittsburgh scored
three runs in the second inning, aided
by a balk by St. John’s freshman Kyle
Hansen with runners on fi rst and third.

A solo home run in the third inning
by Pittsburgh fi rst basemen David
Chester pushed the lead to 4-0.
In the fourth, the Panthers broke the
game open with fi ve runs on six hits.

They sent 11 men to the plate and scored
all fi ve runs before making an out.

Pittsburgh starter Mark Iannazzo
went seven innings, giving up one run
on fi ve hits. He did not allow a run
until the seventh, well after the game
was decided, when freshman left fi elder
Jeremy Baltz led off with a home run.

Sunday’s tilt was moved from its
original noon start time to 11 a.m. to
try to avoid the rain that was passing
through the area. But even with the early
start time, the teams still could only get
six and a half innings in before the game
was called due to rain.

Freshman Matt Carasiti attempted
to be the stopper on Sunday. But after
cruising through the fi rst two innings,
he lost control in the third. He gave up
three runs on three walks, a single and
three wild pitches while only retiring one
batter before being lifted in favor of
sophomore Stephen Rivera.

“That’s been the story of our team
right now-the walks,” said Blankmeyer.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys.
Sometimes they just can’t fi nd the
rhythm and they walk batters.”

St. John’s showed some life late in
the action. Down 5-1 in the top of the
seventh, they loaded the bases with
nobody out. After two RBI groundouts
closed the gap to 5-3, senior
right fi elder Jimmy Parque grounded
out to end the threat. The game was
stopped after the inning, and called
shortly thereafter.

St. John’s plays its Big East
home opener tomorrow as part of a
doubleheader against Seton Hall starting
at noon at Jack Kaiser Stadium.

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