Sean Mooney improved to 7-0 on the season in the first game of Friday's doubleheader
May 12, 2017
QUEENS, N.Y. - Taking on Xavier (25-24, 7-5) in a crucial BIG EAST doubleheader on Friday afternoon, the No. 18 St. John’s Red Storm (36-8, 10-4) emerged victorious in both bouts of the twin-bill, topping the Musketeers 7-3 in the opening tilt before taking game two, 4-3.
For the second time in just one week, Sean Mooney dazzled on the mound and received plenty of run support via the long ball, as Anthony Brocato hit two of the Red Storm’s three home runs and the Johnnies cruised to a 7-3 victory in game one of a doubleheader.
Mooney threw 8.1 innings for the Red Storm in game one, improving to 7-0 on the campaign. The freshman right-hander allowed just two earned runs, both of which came in the ninth inning, scattering six hits and no walks while matching a career-high with 10 strikeouts.
Brocato led the way offensively, tying career-highs with two home runs and five RBIs in a 2-for-3 outing. The performance marked his third of the season with multiple roundtrippers, the most by a St. John’s player in a single season since Jeremy Baltz registered three in 2010. The junior from Helmetta, N.J., bumped his home run total to eight on the campaign, tying for the most by a Johnny in a season since Baltz belted eight as a junior before being selected in the second round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
John Valente also went yard for the Red Storm, smacking his second goner of the season. The redshirt junior from New Rochelle, N.Y., went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored on the game.
Michael Donadio, Jesse Berardi and Jamie Galazin also registered a hit and scored a run for the Johnnies in game one.
The Red Storm got to star southpaw Zac Lowther early in the outing, as Valente ripped his first pitch into left for a single before Donadio looped a double down the left field for a two-bagger, giving the Johnnies runners on second and third with no outs. After Berardi and Brocato worked consecutive walks to push across the first run of the game, Lowther settled down and retired the next three Johnnies he faced to exit the inning down 1-0. Despite surrendering just one run after loading the bases with no outs, Lowther needed 33 pitches to get through the first.
After stringing together a few quality at-bats to push across a run in the first, the Johnnies made use of the long ball to blow the lead open in the following frame. Following a Galazin single with one out, Valente stepped to the plate and lifted a 3-0 pitch to left, a ball that kept floating before clearing the fence and putting the Johnnies ahead by three. After Donadio reached on an error by the second baseman and Berardi flew out to left, Brocato came up and blasted a changeup over the left field wall, plating two more runs and increasing the Red Storm lead to a handful after just two full innings.
Following a pair of scoreless frames in the third and fourth, Brocato struck again in the home half of the fifth. After Berardi led off the inning with a double, Brocato swung at the first pitch he saw and belted it out of the park, bringing home his fifth run of the day and extending the Red Storm’s lead to seven.
The Musketeers plated an unearned run in the eighth before pushing across two more in the ninth, but the outcome was never in question as the Johnnies cruised to a 7-3 victory.
With the game tied at two after seven and a half innings of play, the Red Storm took advantage of some poor Xavier fielding and pushed across a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the eighth, providing the edge the Johnnies would need to clinch a doubleheader sweep with a 4-3 win over the Musketeers.
Donadio led the way in game number two, going 3-for-5 with an RBI to extend his career hit total to 256. Robbie Knightes and Kyle Cunningham also turned in run-scoring hits for the Johnnies in a crucial bottom of the sixth inning.
After providing the power in the first contest of the day, Brocato chipped in another multi-hit effort, going 2-for-4. Josh Shaw also went 2-for-4 and scored two of the Red Storm’s four runs.
Joe LaSorsa picked up his fifth win of the season, tossing a career-high 5.2 innings while allowing no earned runs and striking out four. Gavin Hollowell closed out the ninth inning for the Red Storm, registering his team-leading third save of the season. Kevin Magee made his first weekend start since the beginning of March, allowing one run and four hits over 2.1 innings of work.
After scoring with ease in the early going of the first game, the Red Storm struggled to bring home runners in the beginning of the second tilt, leaving the bases loaded in both the second and third innings.
Trailing 1-0 after five and a half innings of action, the Red Storm finally broke through in the home half of the sixth. Down 0-2 in the count with two outs and nobody on base, Shaw smacked a single to right center, giving the Red Storm its first base runner since the third inning. Next up to the plate was Knightes, who ripped a triple down the line and into the right field corner, scoring Shaw from first and tying the contest at one. With the go-ahead run just 90 feet way, Cunningham hit a rocket that took an odd bounce on the grass and shot over the third baseman, easily scoring Shaw and giving the Red Storm a 2-1 edge heading into the seventh.
Following a scoreless inning, Xavier knotted the contest at two aside in the top of the eighth, pushing across an unearned run on LaSorsa.
The Red Storm wasted no time responding to the Xavier threat, plating a pair of runs in the following frame to take a 4-2 lead heading into the top of the ninth. Shaw kicked off the inning with a single through the right side before advancing to second on a sac bunt from Knightes. After Shaw moved over to third on a Troy Dixon groundout, Mike Antico stepped to the plate and hit a grounder toward the shortstop. Sensing he would need a good throw to beat the speedy freshman, the shortstop one-hopped a throw that the first baseman was unable to corral, scoring Shaw from third and giving the Red Storm the lead. Following a Valente single to give the Red Storm runners on the corners, Donadio delivered an RBI base knock to center, putting the Red Storm ahead by a pair.
The Musketeers would cut into the St. John’s deficit in the ninth, but it was not enough as Hollowell closed it out and the Red Storm escaped with a 4-3 victory.
The Red Storm and the Musketeers will attempt to play the final game of their series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. at Jack Kaiser Stadium. In the event that rain forces the postponement of that game, the two squads will play the third game of their set on Sunday beginning at noon on the BIG EAST Digital Network.