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St. John's baseball: Signs of hope, but Red Storm still facing early season troubles as they drop series to FAU

Junior-college transfer Robert Wayman hitting .361 to start the season.

The St. John’s baseball team (2-7) continued their road adventure - and early-season struggles - over the weekend, dropping two-of-three games against Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla, including a heartbreaker when the Johnnies thought they would have their first series victory of the season.

The Johnnies nearly won Sunday’s finale to take the series, but FAU scored on an error in the bottom of the ninth to win 5-4. St. John’s dropped the opener 11-1 Friday, but rebounded to win Saturday’s game 4-3 against the Owls.

Ryan McCormick (1-1) won his first game of the season Saturday, and allowed three runs (two earned) in 5 2/3 innings. 

St. John’s used three two-out RBI hits to win Saturday’s contest. Robert Wayman’s two-out RBI double in the fourth inning gave the Red Storm a 4-2 lead. The Owls cut the lead to 4-3 in the fifth, but the bullpen picked up after McCormick when he left the game in the sixth inning. He had retired the first two hitters he faced.

Joey Christopher relieved McCormick in the sixth, recorded the final out, then proceeded to pitch scoreless frames in the seventh and eighth. He retired the first two hitters he faced in the ninth inning, but then two Owls reached base via a double and walk. Thomas Hackimer entered the game and walked the first batter he faced as FAU loaded the bases. He fanned the next batter and secured his second save this year. 

St. John’s held a brief 1-0 lead in Friday’s blowout, but an error in the second inning opened the door to an Owls’ rout. 

Red Storm starter James Lomangino (0-2) finished with eight strikeouts in four innings, but allowed seven runs (four earned) on seven hits. St. John’s committed three errors. 

St. John’s trailed 4-1 in Sunday’s game, but rallied to tie the score with three runs over the last two innings. FAU loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth inning to set the stage for the walk-off win. Joe Kuzia (0-1) induced a ground ball to first base and Matt Harris threw home for the force out. Tyler Sanchez’ return throw to Harris, however, was low and in the dirt and the winning run came around to score and give the Owls the series.

Wayman continued his hot start over the weekend and now is hitting .361 with a .410 on-base percentage. He leads the team with 13 hits, including two doubles.

The Red Storm play one more game in Florida Tuesday against Florida Memorial before heading to Nebraska next weekend to play the Cornhuskers.