May 7, 2008
QUEENS, N.Y. - The No. 21 St. John's baseball team defeated the Iona Gaels by scores of 4-2 and 15-2 to sweep a doubleheader on Senior Day. In game one, Jeff Grantham and Gil Zayas had two hits apiece, while Tom La Stella had a pinch-hit three RBI double to lead St. John's (37-10). Grantham, Tim Morris and Scott Ferrara had two RBI apiece to pace St. John's in game two. Matt Tosoni (6-0) earned the win in the nightcap after striking out five in four scoreless innings. Mike Walraven and Andrew Passerelle had three hits apiece on the day for Iona (4-39).
In game one, Red Storm starter Ryan Cole struck out two in the first inning and retired the first five batters to open the game. The righty did not allow a hit until the ninth batter, Trevor Hybner, singled up the middle in the third. Iona however, would take a lead after Cole allowed a single and issued a walk to open the fourth. After a sacrifice bunt moved up both runners, a single put the Gaels up 1-0.
Iona went up 2-0 when Andrew Wernicki singled with runners on the corners and two outs.
The Red Storm, however, sent eight men to plate in the fifth inning and scored four runs to take a 4-2 lead. Carlos Del Rosario and Greg Hopkins led off with singles to open the inning. Daniel Benedetti followed with a bunt single to load the bases. Pinch hitter Tom La Stella then doubled to left field to clear the bases and put St. John's up 3-2. A ground out moved pinch runner Scott Ferrara to third before Grantham singled to right center to put the Red Storm up 4-2.
Miguel Valcarcel (2-0) earned the win after allowing just one run in 2.0 innings of work and striking out three.
Colin Lynch pitched a scoreless ninth for his 13th save of the year.
In the nightcap, Iona led off the first inning with triple. Starter Matt Tosoni, however, would strand the runner on third after a strikeout and a nifty inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The Red Storm got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the first to take an early lead. After back-to-back doubles by Gino Matias and Grantham put St. John's on the board, Grantham later raced home on a wild pitch.
Tim Morris led off the third with a long solo home run into the bullpen in right field. After Chris Anninos walked, Del Rosario tripled to plate Anninos. Hopkins followed with a sacrifice fly to put the Red Storm up 5-0.
Tosoni would eventually retire nine in a row, including three strikeouts before allowing a two-out single in the fourth.
St. John's opened the game up in the fourth after sending 12 men to plate en route to plating seven runs. Ferrara was plunked by a pitch and Matias followed with a single to open the inning and give St. John's runners on the corners. After Matias moved to second on a wild pitch, Grantham walked, but ball four was a wild pitch that allowed Ferrara to come home. Morris then walked to reload the bases and Zayas followed with a two RBI single. Anninos and Michael Aicardi each added RBI groundouts before Ferrara added a two RBI triple to give St. John's a 12-0 lead.
Iona got on the board with a bases loaded walk in the fifth, but St. John's answered with a run in the bottom of the frame when Morris homered to right field for the second time in the game. The Gaels, though, would plate a run in the top of the sixth on an RBI groundout.
The Red Storm added two more runs in the sixth to take a 15-2 lead. With two outs, Matias walked and Grantham followed with an RBI single.
St. John's returns to action at Jack Kaiser Stadium with a three-game BIG EAST series against USF from May 11-13.
Notes: St. John's honored eight seniors, including Michael Aicardi, Chris Anninos, George Brown, Jeff Grantham, Luis Monell, Matt Tosoni, Gil Zayas and head team manager Joseph Zappel, in Senior Day ceremonies prior to the opener ... Lynch remains in second all-time with 25 career saves and 13 saves in a single season ... the closer trails Craig Hansen by just one save in both categories ... Morris tallied his first career multi-home run game ... Del Rosario extended his career-long hitting streak to 11 games ... Grantham extended his season-long hitting streak to nine games.