REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS: Red Storm Clinches Program's First BIG EAST Regular Season Title With Doubleheader Sweep Over Villanova|
May 2, 2015
QUEENS, N.Y. -- The St. John's softball team (26-16, 16-1 BIG EAST) secured its destiny on Saturday afternoon as it clinched the program's first ever BIG EAST Regular Season Championship with a doubleheader sweep over Villanova (23-29, 8-12 BIG EAST) to secure the No. 1 seed at the 2015 BIG EAST Tournament next weekend.
After a scoreless first to kick off the day, junior Yvonne Rericha was able lead off game one in the bottom of the second with an infield single before Savannah Warren could back it up with a base hit of her own. With two on, Lexi Robles was able to move the runners into scoring position, letting Lauren Zick lay down a bunt that would score Rericha and give St. John's a 1-0 lead heading into the third.
Just an inning later, Erin Burner was able to reach base on a two-out base hit after the ball got lost in the sun and Brittany Garcia was able to follow it up with a two-run home run deep to centerfield to make it a 3-0 St. John's lead.
The runs continued to come across in the fourth as Robles worked an 11-pitch leadoff walk to open the inning. After an infield single by Zick, Hannah Anderson was able to pick up a base hit through the right side to score Robles and make it a 4-0 lead.
After the Wildcats were able to get Zick at the plate on a first and third play, Monique Landini was able to get things swinging back in the Red Storm favor as she lifted a two-run home run over well over the right-center fence to make it a 6-0 advantage.
Villanova was able to prevent the shutout from happening with a run of their own in the top of the fifth, but the Red Storm was able to hold on to seal a 6-1 victory in game one, giving St. John's sole possession of the BIG EAST regular-season championship and the No. 1 overall seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.
Junior Tori Free (10-6) earned the victory after throwing a complete-game, giving up only one earned run on seven hits while striking out seven. Brette Lawrence (11-7) took the loss after allowing six earned runs on 10 hits, striking out a pair.
In game two, it was all the pitching of senior Francesca Carrullo early in the game as the right-hander was able to pick up five strikeouts for the first six outs of the game.
Heading into the bottom of the third, scoreless, Hannah Anderson was able to get things going with a one-out triple down into the corner down the right-field line. With the help of a grounder to short where the Wildcats tried to throw home and throw out Anderson, the freshman was able to get by the tag and put St. John's on the board first, leading 1-0.
Later that inning with the bases loaded and two outs, Yvonne Rericha was able to send a RBI single up the middle before the Wildcats were able to cut down a runner at the plate to end the inning and hold the St. John's lead at 2-0 into the fourth.
Just an inning later, St. John's was able to take advantage of a Villanova error after a leadoff hit by Carly Williams to put across another run and make it a 3-0 game.
The Wildcats came alive in the top of the fifth, however, with a pair of base hits to cut the Red Storm lead down to 3-1 before a two-run home run by Lauren Herschberg tied things up at 3-3.
Still tied in the top of the sixth, Villanova was able to take its first lead of the day with a leadoff home run by Dana Morris that was ruled fair over the left-field foul pole while hooking left to give the Wildcats a 4-3 advantage.
Looking to respond, sophomore Lexi Robles was able to lead off the bottom of the sixth with a double off the left-center wall before Lauren Zick could drop down a sac bunt to put the tying run at third with one out.
Hannah Anderson was able to tie the game at 4-4 with a RBI single and Monique Landini ripped the first pitch of her at bat off the right-center wall to score Anderson from first and give St. John's back the lead, 5-4, heading into the seventh.
After a leadoff single by the Wildcats, Carrullo (11-4) was able to put the next three batters down in order to end the game and take home the 5-4 victory. The senior ended the complete-game victory with six strikeouts while allowing only one walk. Kate Poppe (11-19) took the loss after allowing four earned runs on eight hits while striking out six.
The Red Storm will round out the regular season with the series finale against the Wildcats at Noon on Sunday. Following the game, St. John's will honor its four graduating seniors in its annual senior day ceremony.
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