Feb. 9, 2018
Box Score ECU 4, St. John’s 0
Box Score FIU 4 St. John’s 1
MIAMI, Fla. - The St. John’s softball team dropped a pair of decisions to start the 2018 campaign on Friday in Miami, falling to ECU, 4-0, in an early morning contest before losing to FIU, 4-1, in an afternoon affair.
Despite a solid effort from senior McKenzie Murray that saw the hurler allow just two hits in the game’s first five innings, St. John’s dropped its season opener to ECU on Friday morning, 4-0.
Murray pitched a complete game for the Johnnies, surrendering just two earned runs and five hits in seven frames.
St. John’s scattered six hits on the morning and left seven runners on base.
Junior right fielder Christina Melendez registered three hits in as many at-bats to lead the Red Storm, logging two singles and a double in the team’s season debut. Savannah Warren also doubled, while Krystal Puga and Marissa Rizzi each picked up a single.
St. John’s threatened first in the bottom of the second, as Melendez singled through the left side to start the frame. Two batters later, Rizzi reached on a fielder’s choice before both base runners advanced on an error by the second baseman, giving the Johnnies runners on second and third with one out. The Red Storm was unable to convert; however, as consecutive groundouts ended the inning without bringing home a run.
Two innings later, the Red Storm once again put Melendez and Rizzi on second and third with one out following a two bagger and a single, but the Pirates retired two-straight to escape the jam and keep the game scoreless.
Still scoreless entering the sixth, ECU broke the deadlock with an unearned run in the top half of the frame, as Tyler King reached on an error and advanced to second before coming around to score on a single to center.
Looking to answer in the bottom of the inning, St. John’s received another single from Melendez, who then exited for a pinch runner, Lauren Zick. Next up was Warren, who belted a double to left, but Zick was thrown out at the third on the play, keeping the tying run at second. ECU then retired the next two St. John’s batters to end another Red Storm threat.
The Pirates added three insurance runs, only one of which was earned, in the top of the seventh before retiring the Johnnies in order to close out the contest.
Reigning Conference USA Freshman of the Year Shannon Saile delivered a complete game four-hitter in her season debut for FIU, limiting the Red Storm to one run and striking out 15 in a 4-1 victory for the Panthers.
Puga turned in a multi-hit game for the Red Storm, singling twice. Melendez upped her hit total on the day to four with an RBI base hit, while Zick singled and scored a run for the Johnnies.
Madison Morris suffered the loss in the circle but surrendered just two earned runs on the afternoon after allowing eight hits and a walk.
After two and a half scoreless innings to start the game, FIU broke through in the bottom of the third, pushing across two unearned runs in the frame thanks to a pair of St. John’s fielding errors.
The Panthers added two more in the fifth, as the first three hitters of the inning singled to load the bases with nobody out. Two of those runners eventually came around to score on a hit-by-pitch and a walk, pushing the FIU lead to four.
St. John’s cut into the deficit in the sixth, as Zick singled to left before stealing second and coming around to score on a Melendez RBI single to left, shaving the Panther lead to three, 4-1.
After a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, Saile struck out the side in the final frame, sealing the win for the Panthers.
The Red Storm returns to action tomorrow, facing off against ECU and FIU once again. First pitch for the ECU game is scheduled for 11:45 a.m., while the contest with the Panthers is set to go off at 3:45 p.m.