March 23, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. - In a game in which each team had just four hits, Ryan McCormick struck out a career-high seven batters and St. John's made the most of its opportunities to complete a three-game sweep of James Madison and extend its winning-streak to 10 games with a 4-2 victory.
Zach Lauricella went 2-for-2 with a double and Tyler Sanchez finished 1-for-3 with a solo home run and two runs scored to help lead St. John's (13-10) to its first winning-streak of at least 10 games since a 12-game streak in 2008. McCormick (3-1) allowed just two runs in a career-high 7.0 innings of work to win his second-straight start. Ty McFarland went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple and a run scored for James Madison (8-14), while Mark Gunst (1-3) allowed four runs, three earned, in 6.2 innings in a losing effort.
After opening the afternoon with a hit by pitch, McCormick set down eight-straight batters before a two-out single in the third started a two-run rally for the Dukes. McFarland followed with an RBI triple off the wall in right field and then scored on a wild pitch as James Madison grabbed a 2-0 lead.
St. John's took advantage of an error to respond with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Sanchez walked to lead off the inning before Robbie Knightes singled into center and an Alex Caruso sacrifice bunt advanced the runners to second and third. Bret Dennis then lifted what looked to be a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right center, but it was dropped and two runs scored as Dennis advanced all the way to third. Dennis later scored on a wild pitch and the Red Storm led 3-2.
McCormick worked around a leadoff double in the fourth by retiring the next three batters. The righty added 1-2-3 frames in the fifth and sixth, eventually retiring 10-straight batters before a one-out single in the seventh.
Gunst, meanwhile, worked around a one-out double in the fourth and went on to eventually retire eight-straight hitters after a 1-2-3 sixth.
St. John's, however, added an insurance run in the seventh inning. Lauricella set the table with a leadoff single, but was erased as the Dukes retired the lead runner on a Michael Donadio sacrifice bunt attempt. Donadio was then thrown out trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt before Sanchez made it a 4-2 ballgame by launching his first-career home run, a solo blast to left field.
Joe Kuzia relieved McCormick in the eighth inning and recorded two strikeouts as part of a 1-2-3 frame. The righty added another strikeout as part of a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down his second save in as many days.
St. John's returns to action on March 25 with a 3 p.m. road game against local rival Hofstra.