Knightes' 200th Hit Highlights 15-1 Win over Villanova|
May 18, 2017
QUEENS, N.Y. - The No.20 St. John's Red Storm got on the board early and often in the first contest of a crucial three-game set against Villanova on Thursday afternoon, tying its highest run total of BIG EAST play with a 15-1 victory over the Wildcats at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
Aided by a seven-run first, the Johnnies pushed across 10 runs in the opening two innings of the game, putting the contest out of reach in the early going.
Sean Mooney improved to 8-0 on the season, tossing six frames of shutout ball and allowing just four hits while striking out four. The freshman from Marmora, N.J., lowered his ERA to 1.03 on the campaign and delivered strikes on 52 of his 82 pitches. Influenced heavily by the 90 degree weather in the New York area on Thursday, Mooney's six frames marked his shortest outing since March 10 at Liberty, his first career start.
Senior third baseman Robbie Knightes made St. John's history against the Wildcats, becoming the 22nd player in the 100-plus years of the program to reach the 200-hit plateau. Swinging the hottest bat on the team over the past few games, Knightes went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and bumped his batting average to .297 on the season.
For the second-straight contest, Jamie Galazin matched a career-high with four RBIs, going 3-for-4 to pace the Red Storm. Josh Shaw reached base in all five of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with a pair of walks, an RBI and a career-high four runs scored. Troy Dixon, a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award, also reached safely in all of his appearances, going 2-for-2 with an RBI, two walks and a pair of runs scored.
Gui Gingras launched his third home run of the year, a three-run shot off the back of the visitors' bullpen in the first inning.
The victory marked the Red Storm's 39th of the season, moving the Johnnies just one win away from becoming the ninth squad in program history to reach the 40-win plateau and only the second to accomplish the feat before the end of the regular season (2008).
The win also matched the most lopsided margin of victory for the Red Storm this season, as the Johnnies defeated Maine by the same score on March 26.
After two of the first three batters recorded outs for the Red Storm in the bottom of the first, the Johnnies strung together one of its best two-out rallies of the season. With Michael Donadio on first following a four-pitch walk, Anthony Brocato singled to left field to put runners on first and second for Gingras. The powerful lefty drew a full count before smashing one off the back of the bullpen in right, giving the Red Storm an early 3-0 lead. Following singles from Shaw and Dixon, Knightes grounded an RBI single between short and third, recording his 200th career hit and making it 4-0 in favor of the Johnnies. Next up to the plate was Galazin, who ripped a two-run double off the wall in left to score Dixon and Knightes. The Red Storm had one more run left in them before the inning's end, as Valente singled to left in his second at-bat of the frame to score Galazin and make it 7-0 Johnnies after one.
The Red Storm needed just one hit to push across three runs in the home half of the second. Berardi led off the inning with a single to center, advancing to second on a fielding error and moving over to third on a Brocato groundout to short. After Gingras was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners, Shaw, Dixon and Knightes drew three-straight walks to push across a pair of runs. Galazin would then drive home his third run of the game with a sac fly to center, making it 10-0 St. John's after just two frames.
Following a scoreless third, the Johnnies added on two more in the fourth, as Knightes ripped an RBI double into the right field corner to score Shaw before Galazin smacked a one-run single into center, scoring Dixon and making it 12-0 Johnnies heading into the fifth.
The Johnnies added two more runs in the home half of the next inning, as a throwing error by the third baseman allowed Shaw and Mike Antico to score and put the Johnnies ahead 14-0 after five.
The Red Storm would record its final run in the seventh, as Shaw laced an RBI single up the middle to score Mark Venice.
Villanova ended the Red Storm's shutout bid with an unearned run in the eighth, but the Red Storm limited the Wildcats to just that one tally en route to claiming victory in game one of the series.
The Red Storm and the Wildcats return to action tomorrow afternoon, facing off at 1 p.m. inside the friendly confines of Jack Kaiser Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3.