Seventh-Inning Rally Leads St. John’s To 5-2 Win Against Iona

John Valente started a four-run seventh-inning rally with a leadoff pinch-hit double.
March 8, 2016

Box Score

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - St. John’s trailed 1-0 after six frames, but rallied for four runs in the seventh and defeated Iona, 5-2. Jesse Berardi finished 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored to lead St. John’s (4-6), while Michael Donadio went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Matt Messier (1-0) had three strikeouts in 2.0 scoreless innings to earn the win in relief of Michael LoPresti, who had three strikeouts in 4.2 innings of one-run ball in his first-career start.

Sean Breen was 2-for-4 with an RBI triple for Iona (1-7), while Stephan Stafford (0-1) took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, in 2.0 innings of relief. Starter Antonio Velardi tossed 5.0 scoreless innings for a no-decision.

St. John’s tried to put together a two-out rally in the first, but stranded a pair of runners. Following two groundouts, Robbie Knightes extended the inning with a single before Troy Dixon worked a walk. Velardi, however, ended the inning with a fielder’s choice.

The Red Storm stranded a runner on second in both the third and fourth frames. Berardi led off the third with a single and advanced on a sacrifice bunt, but the next two batters were retired. Donadio then roped a two-out double inside the right field in the fourth before a strikeout ended the inning.

LoPresti, meanwhile, worked 1-2-3 frames in the second, third and fourth to retire 11-straight batters before a hit batsman led off a fifth frame that saw Iona score and get into the Red Storm bullpen. After a sacrifice bunt gave the Gaels a runner on second with one out, Seth Hoagland gave the Gaels a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single up the middle. A walk chased LoPresti from the game and Messier got out of the jam with a strikeout.

 

 

Iona went to the bullpen in the sixth and Stafford worked a 1-2-3 frame, but the Red Storm took the lead with a four-run seventh. John Valente started the rally with a leadoff pinch-hit double before Donadio laid down a sacrifice bunt, but beat the throw for a single. St. John’s then tied the game as an errant pickoff attempt at first allowed Valente to score from third. Donadio stole second and advanced to third on a groundout before Berardi followed with a two-out RBI single. An Alex Caruso single set up first and third and Josh Shaw lined an RBI single into center, but an errant relay throw allowed a second run to score and made it a 4-1 ballgame.

Messier struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the seventh, but was lifted after a two-out single. Turner French ended the inning with a strikeout.

Iona cut its deficit to 4-2 with a two-out run in the eighth. French quickly retired the first two batters before a hit batsman sent the Red Storm to the bullpen. Breen greeted Joe Napolitano with an RBI triple, but a groundout ended the frame.

St. John’s got the run right back in the ninth as Gui Gingras tripled to center with one out before a Berardi sacrifice fly gave the Red Storm a 5-2 lead.

Napolitano worked a scoreless ninth to register his first save.

St. John’s returns to action on March 9 with a 3 p.m. road game at Fairleigh Dickinson.

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