March 21, 2006
FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The St. John's baseball team scored runs in the seventh and eighth innings to come back and beat Fairfield, 4-2, on Tuesday afternoon. A two-run single by junior Sam DeLuca in the eighth gave the Red Storm its first lead of the game, and junior left-hander Justin Muir worked 4.2 scoreless innings of relief to earn his first win of the season.
With the win, St. John's moves its season record to two games over .500 for the first time all season, at 9-7, and wins for the fifth time in six games. Fairfield drops its 2006 home opener and falls to 4-9 overall.
Muir made his third straight scoreless outing, allowing just two hits and no runs to buy the St. John's offense time to get going. In his last three games, Muir has a 0.00 ERA, .161 opponent batting average and nine strikeouts in 8.2 innings. For his career, Muir has averaged nearly one strikeout per inning, fanning 71 batters in 78 innings.
Colin Lynch pitched well in his first career start, allowing three hits and two runs and striking out three in 4.1 innings. He was lifted with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, and Muir got two quick outs to end the inning.
DeLuca paced the offense by going 2-for-4 with the game-winning two-run single in the eighth inning. The two RBI extended a streak of six consecutive games with at least one RBI for DeLuca, and the junior has racked up a total of nine RBI over that span. Gil Zayas added two hits and a solo home run, and Bryan Dirr, who entered the game ranked sixth in the BIG EAST with a .410 batting average, went 2-for-3 with two singles and a sacrifice hit.
Junior Anthony Smith hit a game-tying, pinch-hit single in the top of the seventh inning to tie the score at 2-2, setting up DeLuca's game-winning single in the top of the eighth. Chris Anninos came around to score on the base hit after reaching on a one-out single earlier in the inning.
Fairfield grabbed an early lead in the bottom of the first inning after leadoff hitter Brian Schappert reached on a flare single just over third base. Schappert moved to third on a groundout and wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by John Scaife.
Zayas evened the score with a solo blast that slammed off the scoreboard above the left field wall. Zayas' homer, his second of the season, tied the game at 1-1 and moved the sophomore's season RBI total to a team-high tying 16.
After an RBI single in the fifth by Schappert, St. John's went into the late innings trailing by a score of 2-1. The Red Storm cut into the lead in the seventh inning on Smith's RBI single. Anninos reached on a single up the middle and moved to second on a balk by Stag pitcher Michael Colucci. After a fly out by Zayas, head coach Ed Blankmeyer inserted the left-handed hitting Smith as a pinch-hitter and got the result he was looking for. Smith found a hole with a groundball to the right side, and Anninos raced around from second to tie the score.
Gino Matias led off the decisive St. John's rally in the eighth inning by reaching on a walk. Will Vogl worked a favorable count and then ripped a single into right field to put runners on first and second with no outs. Dirr moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, and DeLuca plated them with an infield single between third base and shortstop.
The Stags made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning, putting the tying run on first base and the winning run at the plate, but Muir got a big strikeout and groundout to end the threat.
The Red Storm is back on the road on Wednesday, March 22, traveling to Philadelphia for a 3 p.m. matchup with Temple. St. John's returns to the City of Brotherly Love on Friday for its first BIG EAST series of the season.