April 3, 2005
Queens, NY - St. John's pitcher Anthony Varvaro (Staten Island, NY) struck out a career-high 17 batters, setting a school modern-day record in leading the Red Storm to a 2-0 BIG EAST Conference win over Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon at The Ballpark.
It was the third-straight win for St. John's, who improve to 12-9 overall and 2-1 in the BIG EAST. Pittsburgh falls to 13-9 overall and 1-4 in the league.
Varvaro got all the run support he needed in the first inning, when senior P.J. Antoniato (Levittown, NY) hit a single to center, scoring senior third baseman Jim Martin (Norwood, MA), who led off the St. John's half of the first with a double to left. Antoniato was forced out at second on a bunt from junior Greg Thomson (Levittown, NY) for the first out, and Thomson was thrown out when junior Will Vogl (Pacifica, CA) lined out to Pittsburgh third baseman Mike Megale, but the single run was enough for Varvaro.
The junior recorded the first five outs of the game via strikeout and did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, when Peter Parise hit a leadoff single to left-center. Parise was forced out on a fielder's choice and a single from Jim Negrych put runners on first and second with one out, but Varvaro struck out the final two batters of the inning to get out of the threat.
Varvaro struck out the side in the first inning and struck out two every inning from the second to the eighth, respectively.
The Red Storm added an insurance run in the seventh, increasing their lead to 2-0. Redshirt sophomore Chris Joachim (Massapequa Park, NY) reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second when senior Blake Hershelman (Georgetown, DE) singled through the left side. Junior Ken Devenney (Philadelphia, PA) then reached on an error by Panthers shortstop Dan Williams, allowing Joachim to score.
After Parise reached on a bunt single to lead off the ninth inning, St. John's went to junior closer Craig Hansen (Glen Cove, NY), who induced a ground ball double play for the first two out and struck out Negrych to end the game and earn his fourth save of the season.
The 17 strikeouts for Varvaro are the most by a St. John's pitcher since Kevin McGerry struck out 13 in a BIG EAST Tournament win over Rutgers during the 1999 season.
St. John's and Pittsburgh will play a doubleheader at The Ballpark on Monday, April 4, beginning at noon to wrap up the three-game series.