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St. John’s struggles to bounce back during break in Big East play

The Red Storm went 2-2 when they were looking to build rhythm for the final Big East stretch

Baseball with seams

Last week was first time since March that the team played a whole week without facing a Big East opponent.

St. John’s may have needed the break. The Johnnies were trying to rebound from getting swept by Georgetown last week, losses that brought the Red Storm into the bottom half of the league standings.

But the Johnnies split the games, setting up a critical seven-game stretch against the league’s leader and two local rivals.

Last week began at home against Iona for a game before travelling to Fairleigh Dickinson for a game to wrap up the season series.

The weekend initially brought a home and away series against Princeton, with the Red Storm hosting first. Weather forecasts forced the second game scheduled to be hosted by Princeton to be held as part of a doubleheader with the first at St. John’s.

April 30, St. John’s vs. Iona

St. John’s 6, Iona 1 | WP: Mondak (1-1) LP: Untracht (0-2)

The Johnnies began the week hosting Iona to wrap up the season series, having won the first game on March 13th by a score of 7-1.

The whole St. John’s team chipped in on offense as 8 of 9 starters had a hit, walk, or RBI.

Holding a narrow 1-0 lead after the 1st, the team’s bats fell silent until 1B Ryan Hogan’s 2-run home run in the 4th inning.

On the mound, Nick Mondak got the nod for the Red Storm; he pitched six innings of solid ball. Mondak allowed two hits and one walk while striking out 10 in his scoreless effort.

The bullpen sent three pitchers on — each for one inning — and totaled four strikeouts to their two walks and no earned runs. The defense held up, committing only one error.

The Iona Gaels were held scoreless until the top of the 8th inning when a deep sac fly scored their only run of the game. Iona’s pitching gave up six runs, all earned, and struck out six Johnnies to the three walks issued.

The win allowed St. John’s to sweep the season series against Iona by a total score of 13-2 over the two games — two more wins to help their record for the NCAA tournament.

May 1, St. John’s vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

St. John’s 4, FDU 5 | WP: Theodorellis (1-1) LP: Henry (0-1) S: Corporan (1)

A day after sweeping Iona, the Red Storm were presented with the opportunity to sweep another season series, this time on the road.

FDU came to Queens seeking vengeance for the 7-run loss St. John’s handed to them the first time around.

Early runs helped St. John’s claw to an early lead. But after the second inning, the team fell quiet.

In the 2nd inning, St. John’s scored three runs on one hit, a 2-run CF Sean McGeehan homer — plus some aggressive baserunning. Two walks, a wild pitch, and a hit batter helped St. John’s load the bases with 2-outs. Third baseman Carson Bartels draw a walk to score the 3rd run of the inning.

But the rest of the game saw the Storm collect four more hits and one more run, not enough to compensate for FDU’s surge in the coming innings.

On the mound for St. John’s, Matt Semon got the start. Semon held his own until the third inning. In that inning, a 2-run HR from FDU DH Sal Monticciolo began the decline for St. John’s. In six innings for the bullpen, three pitchers allowed six hits and four walks (plus six strikeouts) in what would be a losing effort.

DH Sal Monticciolo homered twice, accounting for three RBI, and scored on an RBI single after drawing a walk. The FDU bullpen pitched six innings, allowing only one run and secured a narrow lead for the win.

With the second game of the series over, the teams split the season series 1-1 with each team winning at home. St. John’s won the series by an aggregate score of 11-8.

May 4-5 Series vs. Princeton

The season series was scheduled to take place over the weekend, but had to be condensed into 1 day at St. John’s due to weather.

Game 1: St. John’s 1, Princeton 3 | WP: Smith (5-3) LP: Kelly (3-2) S: Nolan (5)

Game 1 began earlier than scheduled to accommodate for the impromptu doubleheader. On paper, pitching was a theme for the game as neither team scored until the 7th inning, but in reality, Princeton had things going for them in the game.

St. John’s managed 8 hits for the game from 6 batters, but could not string advance runners past second. The only run of the game came from 3B Carson Bartels’ infield single that allowed SS Brandon Bossard to dash home from 3rd base and score on a close play. Other than the double that put Bossard on the bases, no other hit for St. John’s was more bases than a single.

Joe LaSorsa got his start for the week on the early game of a double header as the drizzle started to fall, off and on. LaSorsa pitched 5.1 shutout innings and kept the Storm locked up with Princeton before he was pulled for Joe Kelly who pitched 3.1 innings and gave up all three runs.

Ryan Smith got the start for Princeton on the mound and was excellent for the Tigers. Smith pitched 8.1 innings, giving up one run and handing out 10 strikeouts. The Princeton bats came alive late, stringing together clutch hits with runners on to score three in the 7th and 8th innings.

Game 2: St. John’s 4, Princeton 2 | WP: Belge (3-5) LP: Proctor (1-5) S: Hollowell (4)

Game 2 was a close game like Game 1, and both teams saw their peak production come in the middle innings.

LF Mike Antico led St. John’s with two hits — a solo home run to open the scoring in the 3rd inning as well as a two-run single in the 4th inning. For the rest of the team, the seven-hit total matched that of the opposition, but those hits proved to be enough.

St. John’s started Ian Murphy, who pitched three innings of shutout ball, yielding only one hit and two walks as the rain stopped for a time.

Belge replaced Murphy in the 4th inning and pitched until the end of the 7th, when he was replaced by Gavin Hollowell for the final two innings. Belge and Hollowell combined for six innings. Though they gave up both Princeton runs, they also had six strikeouts and gave up no walks.

Princeton amassed seven hits on the game, but none from their 3-4-5 hitters. Catcher Max West for the Tigers scored both of the team’s runs on a groundout and a double. The pitching for the Tigers was enough to win the game if St. John’s wasn’t as wise at the plate. Only one St. John’s run run of the 4 allowed was earned for the Tigers; the rest came on bad throws and sacrifice hits.

The season series wrapped up in a day for St. John’s a split between Princeton,

The Storm didn’t face a Big East opponent this week as they sit in 5th place tied with Georgetown who holds the tiebreaker. Tonight, they face Wagner from Staten Island for Senior Night.