The bats were on fire in a cross-town clash for the Johnnies in Hempstead on Wednesday, as the Red Storm routed Hofstra at University Field by a score of 12-4. This victory marked the ninth consecutive win for St. John’s, the longest winning streak since the team opened the season with eight straight wins.
Although the Pride played close throughout the first four innings, St. John’s broke through with 8 runs in the fifth, as the Red Storm was able to burn through three Hofstra pitchers in just 4.1 innings.
St. John’s 3B John Valente reached base 4 times throughout the course of the day, going 3-for-4 with a sac fly, a walk, 2 RBIs and 3 runs scored, as the graduate student has now reached base in 48 consecutive games, extending the longest streak in the country.
While the bats were certainly impressive for St. John’s on Wednesday, coach George Brown’s pitching staff put on a mesmerizing display for the majority of the game, as Hofstra only scored in one frame, plating four runs in the bottom of the sixth. St. John’s starter Jeff Belge earned his second victory in as many starts for the Red Storm, as the lefthander recorded 6 K’s and gave up just 2 hits over 5.0 IP.
During his last outing against Iona, Belge took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but on Wednesday, a leadoff double from Hofstra CF Steven Foster broke up a potential bid after just one pitch. Belge would go on to give up his only walk of the day later in the inning, but the left-handed fireballer quickly settled down, as he would only surrender a single in the third inning en route to retiring 12 of the final 13 batters that he faced.
With yet another scoreless outing under his belt, Belge earned his third win of the season, and has successfully lowered his ERA from 4.64 to 3.24 in just two starts. Considering he has retired 33 of his last 39 batters, Belge has solidified himself as a difference maker in the St. John’s rotation.
Belge, who is one of only three members of the St. John’s pitching staff to be used in the rotation and in relief this year, made his 6th start of the season on Wednesday. And although his 36.2 IP pale in comparison to his rotation counterparts, the 6-foot-5 Southpaw has held opposing batters to a collective .150 batting average this season, .51 points lower than any other member of the starting rotation.
However, the Syracuse native has yet to be tested in BIG EAST play this season, as Belge has mainly held down the Red Storm’s midweek non-conference contests. His next scheduled start is next Wednesday at home against LIU Brooklyn, as the weekend rotation of Sean Mooney, Kevin Magee and Michael LoPresti is slated to face longtime rival Georgetown during the Red Storm’s 3 game set at Jack Kaiser Stadium this weekend.