St. John's Uses Four-Run Eighth To Rally Past James Madison, 7-5, For Ninth-Straight Win|
March 22, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's used a four-run eighth-inning rally to erase a two-run deficit and notch its ninth-straight victory with a 7-5 win against James Madison. Zach Lauricella finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored to lead St. John's (12-10), while Matt Harris went 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, and Troy Dixon was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Matt Hennie(1-0) worked a scoreless eighth to record the win for the Red Storm. Conner Brown finished 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI triple for James Madison (8-13), and Chris Huffman (3-2) suffered the loss after allowing six runs in 7.1 innings of work.
Starter Joey Grazianostruck out the side in the first inning, but James Madison did take a 1-0 lead as a one-out walk came around to score when Brown belted a two-out triple to the wall in center.
After keeping the Dukes off the board by working out of jams in the second and fourth innings, Graziano was lifted and Joey Christopherstruck out the side as part of a 1-2-3 fifth.
St. John's, meanwhile, was held without a hit through four innings of play before breaking through with three doubles as part of a two-run fifth. Michael Donadio led off the inning with a double to left field before Lauricella singled into center field, but reached second on the throw home as Donadio was thrown out at the plate. Dixon tied the game with a two-out RBI double before Alex Carusogave the Red storm a 2-1 lead with a second-straight RBI double.
James Madison came right back with two runs in the sixth to retake the lead. Josh Wyatt singled to lead off the inning and took second on a sacrifice bunt. After a walk to Tyler Gregory, Brett Johnson tied the game with an RBI double before Nick Merullo gave the Dukes a 3-2 lead with an RBI groundout.
The Red Storm answered immediately as Harris led off with a double to set the table for a run in the bottom of the sixth. Jarred Mederosmoved Harris to third with a sacrifice bunt and a Donadio RBI groundout made it a 3-3 ballgame.
The back-and-forth continued in the seventh as James Madison plated two runs to take a 5-3 lead. Matt Tenaglia led off the inning with a solo home run to right center and St. John's went to bullpen for Shawn Heide. Brown greeted the reliever with a double and Bobby San Martin followed with an RBI single as the Dukes took a two-run lead.
Still trailing 5-3, St. John's rallied for four runs in the eighth to retake the lead for good. Harris walked to lead off the inning before Mederos doubled into the right center gap, but reached third on a misplay in the outfield as Harris scored. A groundout kept Mederos at third, but Lauricella followed with an RBI single that tied the game and chased Huffman. Robbie Knightes greeted reliever Michael Evans with a single into right, but reached second on another outfield misplay as Lauricella also advanced to third. Ben Garner then entered the game and promptly threw a wild pitch to allow Lauricella to score as Knightes took third. Pinch hitter Joe Burnsfollowed with a sacrifice fly into right field and St. John's took a 7-5 lead into the ninth.
Joe Kuziatook the mound and shut the door with a 1-2-3 ninth to record his first-career save.
St. John's concludes its series against James Madison on March 23 with a 1 p.m. game that will be carried live on ESPN3.