Dixon Caps Ninth-Inning Rally As St. John’s Defeats Southern Illinois, 4-1|
March 12, 2016
CARBONDALE, Ill. - Troy Dixon cleared the bases with a tie-breaking three-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth as St. John’s leveled it series against Southern Illinois with a 4-1 victory. Dixon finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBI to lead St. John’s (6-7), while Jamie Galazin went 3-for-3 with two walks and two runs scored. Starter Joe Nellis had three strikeouts in 6.0 innings of one-run ball in a no-decision, while Thomas Hackimer (2-0) tossed 2.0 scoreless innings for the win. Logan Blackfan was 1-for-3 with an RBI double for Southern Illinois (9-5), while Jacob Williams (0-2) took the loss after allowing two runs in 2.1 innings of relief.
A day after stranding 12 runners in the series-opener, St. John’s left a pair on base in the top of the first inning. After Galazin worked a one-out walk and was caught stealing, Dixon extended the inning with a two-out walk. Gui Gingras then grounded a single through the left side, but Chad Whitmer ended the inning with a groundout.
Southern Illinois promptly manufactured a run in the bottom of the frame. Connor Kopach led off with a single and stole second before advancing to third on a flyout. Blackfan followed with a two-out RBI double and the Salukis led 1-0.
After Nellis tossed a 1-2-3 frame in the second, St. John’s tied the game with a two-out rally in the third. Whitmer retired the first two batters before Galazin singled up the middle. Galazin then stole second before Dixon roped an RBI double to the wall in left center to tie the ballgame at 1-1.
The Red Storm could not take advantage of an error in the fourth and stranded two more runners. Josh Shaw reached on a one-out error and stole second before advancing to third on a groundout. Ty Blankmeyer then worked a two-out walk to set up runners on the corners, but a strikeout ended the frame.
St. John’s threatened once again in the fifth, but again stranded a pair of runners. After Galazin and Dixon started things with back-to-back one-out singles, Gingras reached on a fielder’s choice to set up runners on the corners with two outs. Whitmer, however, escaped with a groundout.
Nellis, meanwhile, tossed 1-2-3 innings in the fifth and sixth, retiring 15 of his final 17 batters before St. John’s went to the bullpen for the seventh. Joe Napolitano entered and used a 6-4-3 double play to erase a one-out single and keep the game tied at 1-1.
St. John’s went back to the bullpen for Hackimer in the eighth. The righty quickly retired the first two batters before issuing consecutive walks, but bounced back with an inning-ending strikeout.
The Red Storm then rallied to take a 4-1 lead with a three-run ninth. Blankmeyer started things with a one-out single and stole second before Jesse Berardi worked a walk. After Galazin extended the inning and loaded the bases with a two-out walk, Dixon cleared the bases with a three-run double to the wall in right center.
Hackimer worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to secure the victory.
St. John’s concludes its series against Southern Illinois on March 13 with a 1 p.m. (ET) rubber game.