Shaw's Walk-Off Single Seals Sweep of Creighton|
April 14, 2018
QUEENS, N.Y. - After cruising to a 5-1 victory in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, the St. John's baseball team came back from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth in game two, walking off on Creighton, 4-3, to complete the series sweep and remain unbeaten in BIG EAST play.
The Johnnies (22-10, 6-0 BIG EAST) are off to their best start in conference play since 2006, when the squad won seven in a row to kick off BIG EAST action.
The Red Storm broke a 1-1 tie with a four-spot in the bottom of the fourth and never looked back, downing Creighton, 5-1, in game one of Saturday's doubleheader.
Kevin Magee, a member of Monday's BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll, tossed seven innings of one-run ball to win his second-straight decision and improve to 4-3 on the year. The senior southpaw scattered six hits and a walk while striking out seven. The Pompton Lakes, N.J., native retired 12-straight Creighton batters between the third and seventh innings.
Despite not qualifying for the save, Gavin Hollowell closed the door for the second game in a row, allowing just one hit and striking out three over two scoreless frames to seal the victory.
Josh Shaw was one of four Johnnies to record multi-hit efforts in game one, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
Both of Chris Stefl's hits went for extra bases, as the freshman from Floral Park smacked a pair of doubles, the first two-baggers of his collegiate career.
Following a four-pitch top of the first from Magee, St. John's got on the board in the home half of the frame. Valente led off the inning by singling to the third base and moving into scoring position on a throwing error. A pair of singles from Shaw and Boselli then brought the graduate student home and quickly put the Johnnies ahead, 1-0.
After Creighton evened the score at one in the top of the third, St. John's answered with a four-spot in the home half of the fourth. Following a leadoff single to center from Brocato, Stefl stepped to the plate and delivered his second double of the game, putting a pair of runners in scoring position for Hogan. The redshirt freshman promptly smacked a base knock to center, plating both runners and putting the Red Storm ahead, 3-1. Following a single from Valente two batters later and an error that allowed Galazin to load the bases, Shaw went the opposite way with his second hit of the day, scoring a pair and bumping the Johnnies' lead to four, 5-1.
Despite not scoring the rest of the way, the Red Storm never worried thanks to shutdown pitching performances from Magee and Hollowell, taking game one without issue.
Trailing 3-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Red Storm scored four runs in the decisive final frame, walking off on Creighton, 4-3, to complete the series sweep.
Shaw delivered the lasting heroics in the bottom of the ninth, ripping a two-run single down the left field line to score a pair with the Johnnies trailing by one.
The first four batters reached base for St. John's in the ninth, three of whom were pinch hitters. The Bluejays only recorded an out in the frame on a sacrifice bunt from Valente.
Mike Antico pinch hit for Wyatt Mascarella to lead off the ninth, singling through the left side. Next up was Luke Stampfl, who dropped a double down the right field line to put runners on second and third with no outs. Mark Venice entered the game as a pinch hitter with two runners in scoring position before reaching base on a catcher's interference to load the bases for another pinch hitter in freshman Brandon Miller. The rookie worked a 2-0 count before poking a single through the left side, scoring the first two St. John's runs of the game and pulling the Johnnies within one. With runners on first and second, Valente dropped a sac bunt before Galazin drew an intentional walk to load the bases for Shaw. Ahead in the count 3-1, Shaw ripped a ball down the left field line for what could have been extra bases, but he only needed one as two runners came across to seal the victory for St. John's.
Michael LoPresti allowed just two hits over 7.2 frames of one-run ball, only seeing a tally charged to his ledger after leaving the game with two outs in the eighth. The junior right hander, who no-hit the Bluejays over five and two-thirds, walked just two and struck out five, throwing 59 of his 96 pitches for strikes. Joe LaSorsa earned the win in relief, improving to 2-0 despite technically facing no batters; a runner was caught stealing at second for his lone out of the game.
Stampfl went 3-for-4 with a double in game number two, one of three Johnnies alongside Valente and Shaw to notch multiple hits in the latter tilt.
The Red Storm threatened in the top of the first, putting runners on second and third with one out. Creighton starter Preston Church managed to escape the inning; however, forcing a strikeout and a pop fly to exit unscathed.
Pitching dominated the next several innings, as neither team put a runner in scoring position until Jordan Gillerman led off the fifth with a base knock before advancing to second on a Josh Greene sac bunt. Church responded by working two quick groundouts to end the St. John's threat.
Creighton broke the scoreless tie in the top of the eighth, as Parker Upton led off the inning with a single through the left side before moving into scoring position on a sac bunt. He then scored on an Isaac Collins base knock two batters later.
The Red Storm looked poised to even the count in the home half, as Valente led off the inning with a single before advancing 90 feet on a Galazin sacrifice. Shaw flied out to center in the next at-bat, deep enough to move Valente 90 from home with two outs. Next up was Stefl, who worked a walk before exiting for pinch runner Kevin Buckley, who stole second to give Brocato runners on second and third. The senior grinded a lengthy at-bat, sending the 10th pitch he saw deep to right, but a ranging Will Robertson made the highlight-reel grab and ended the St. John's threat.
The Bluejays added two more in the ninth and appeared to have avoided the sweep before the Red Storm rolled in with their home-half heroics.
St. John's will next be in action on Wednesday, traveling to Hofstra for a 3 p.m. tilt with the Pride.