BSEBL: ‘Nova swept by Red Storm

Carolyn Brown

St. John’s took control of a threegame series this past weekend and handed three losses to Villanova, leaving them 3-6 in the Big East (13-13 overall).

The weekend started out in a doubleheader on the road with senior Mike Loree on the mound. Loree shutout the Red Storm until the sixth inning, in which St. John’s started to produce offensively. The game ended in a 4-3 decision and Villanova’s first loss of the weekend.

Villanova scored runs early, gaining a 3-0 lead going into the eighth. However, the Red Storm started a late rally and scored four runs, enough to hold off Villanova. The ‘Cats recorded 10 hits, eight of which were before the seventh inning. Junior Ryan Arcadia led off the top of the ninth with one, but Villanova was unable to hit him around the bases to tie the game.

“Mike threw really well in this first game,” senior Nate Hall said. “We had a couple of scoring opportunities that just didn’t go our way, and then they were able to score two runs late in the game. Anybody who puts up two runs late in the game has the upper hand and makes it that much more difficult to pull the game out.”

In the second game, Villanova got hammered by the Red Storm’s offensive efforts. St. John’s scored 10 runs in the first three innings, and the Wildcats were unable to rally back. In the fifth inning, the Wildcats trailed 12-2, and with the bases loaded, junior Derek Shunk was hit by a pitch which recorded the first run of the inning. Senior Jim Gillin stepped up to the plate and nailed a grand slam over the fence, his first homerun of the season, to make the score 12-7.

However, the Red Storm offense continued to score and the Wildcats could not come back from such a deficit, and the game ended in a 16-9 decision.

“This game was basically a slugfest that went back and forth,” Hall said. “We just gave up too much too early and couldn’t come back from it. We tried to hang in the game and got within four, but it’s tough to expect an offense to come back from a 10-run deficit that happened so early in the game.”

In the third game of the series, the offensive power of the Wildcats started early. With bases loaded, juniors Gus Guida and Joe Cotter hit right center bombs that scored two runs. However, St. John’s answered in the bottom of the inning to tie the game 2-2.

Villanova’s offensive effort could not pull anything together in the following innings, and St. John’s capitalized on its quiet bats in the bottom of the fifth inning, crossing six more runs across the plate. Villanova only recorded nine hits in the game; they were not enough to hold off the Red Storm, ending the game 9-2.

“This last game in the series was a mental game for us,” Hall said. “We had a lot of pressure on us going in after losing two to go out and take one. It’s hard to win a game when you only score two runs. Our offense was not able to come back, and our defense was sketchy at times. And that has been our problem so far this year. There have been weekends when we needed something to go right, it didn’t, and when we needed our offense and defense to perform, they couldn’t. We need to work out finishing the game, and things will start going right for us.”

Despite the sweep, team members said they are optimistic about their chances in upcoming games.

“We have played some of the top teams in the Big East so far,” Hall said. “We will be able to pick up more games in the next coming weekends where we are playing some of the lower-ranked teams in our conference.”