Despite a 62-14 all time record against Georgetown prior to Sunday’s contest, St. John’s had the home crowd at Jack Kaiser Stadium sweating throughout the entirety of the game. However, it was the dominance of the bullpen, combined with the late inning heroics of the Red Storm’s formidable lineup that drove the Johnnies to their 12th consecutive win.
After Michael LoPresti allowed only 1 ER on 3 hits over the course of 6+ IP, Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer turned to his lights out bullpen, bringing in the left-handed sidearm phenom, Turner French, and his dominant 0.00 ERA. French has only allowed 20 batters to reach base this season, good enough for a WHIP of 0.89, the second lowest amongst St. John’s relievers, only behind Gavin Hollowell, who posts a WHIP of 0.82.
On Sunday, French and Hollowell combined for 4 innings of relief, as the deadly duo only allowed 3 Georgetown batters to reach base all afternoon. After Hollowell retired the Hoyas in order in the top of the 10th, the Johnnies came to bat in the bottom of the inning, where LF Josh Greene worked a one-out walk, quickly followed by a gargantuan double from 3B John Valente, placing two runners in scoring position for St. John’s. Valente’s double was the grad student’s only hit on the day, however, it extended his on-base streak to 51 games, the longest streak in the country.
The very next at-bat, CF Jamie Galazin wasted no time at all, dropping a squeeze bunt on the very first pitch he saw, driving in Greene and sealing the 2-1 victory for the Red Storm. Although Galazin’s bunt couldn’t drive the ball more than 6 inches away from home plate, Greene narrowly avoided a tag, as he sidestepped Georgetown catcher Ryan Davis, and hastily slapped the edge of the plate with the tip of his fingers as he dove in for the winning run. The walk-off win was the second of its kind for St. John’s in as many weeks, as Josh Shaw played hero for the Red Storm last Saturday against Creighton.
With this victory, the Johnnies have established themselves as the Kings of the Big East, sitting atop the conference with a perfect record of 9-0 after clean sweeps of Villanova, Creighton, and now Georgetown. Sunday’s win was the first time St. John’s had scored less than 4 runs since March 31, and the team’s first win with 2 or less runs since February 17.
Although the offense was stifled on Sunday, the Red Storm bats will look to reignite on Wednesday against LIU Brooklyn at Jack Kaiser Stadium. The Blackbirds have shown signs of vulnerability this season, as they’ve given up 5 or more runs in 7 of their last 11 games, including a 20-2 loss at the hands of Bryant University on April 7. Additionally, LIU batters will face a challenge in the midweek contest, as red-hot lefty Jeff Belge will take to the mound for St. John’s. Belge has retired 33 of his last 39 batters over his previous two outings, including a dominant 6 strikeout performance against Hofstra, and 6+ innings of no-hit ball against Iona.
St. John’s will look to win its 13th straight contest on Wednesday at 3 pm, before the team heads to Cincinnati for a 3-game set with Xavier.