March 28, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - The St. John’s softball team erupted for 12 hits as the Red Storm (8-23-1, 2-3 BIG EAST) took an 11-3, six-inning victory over conference Rival Seton Hall 11-15, 1-4 BIG EAST) for its fifth home-opening win in the seven years of the Amy Kvilhaug Era. The Pirates would respond with an offensive barrage of their own in game two, using 10 hits and three St. John’s errors to claim a 10-0 win in five innings to earn the split.
Chrissy Montez led St. John’s at the plate, going 4-for-6 with a pair of home runs in the first game of the day to become just the sixth Red Storm player all-time to hit two long balls in the same game at Red Storm Field. Ashley Beza added a 2-for-5 day with an RBI, while Erin Burner went 2-for-6, tying Montez with a team-high three RBI.
In the first game of the day, after a 1-2-3 inning by St. John’s starter Tori Free, the St. John’s offense went to work with Montez drawing a leadoff walk. A bunt single by Yvonne Rericha put two on board for Burner who roped a single up the middle, giving St. John’s a 1-0 lead before the first out of the frame. With runners at the corners and one out, Dominique Marcelino grounded back to starting pitcher Jen Metzger to plate Rericha and move Jackie Reed to second. A single to right center by Beza allowed Reed to come around to score and give the Red Storm a 3-0 advantage heading into the second inning.
After Free forced a strikeout to strand a Pirate in the top of the second inning, Kelsey Moyer led off the bottom of the inning with a walk. Two batters later, Montez uncorked her first home run of the day, giving St. John’s a 5-0 lead and chasing Metzger in favor of Casey Moses. With two outs and Burner on first, Reed hit a two-run homer of her own, giving the Red Storm a 7-0 lead after two.
Another 1-2-3 inning from Free in the third kept Seton Hall off the board until the fourth frame, when two St. John’s defensive miscues led to the first Pirate run of the game. However, the Red Storm would have the answer in the bottom of the fourth as Montez hit a one-out solo shot to increase her team-leading total to eight on the season, matching her career-best for a season, set in 2012.
Leading 8-1, Free gave up three hits in the fifth, but was able to get out of the jam. In the sixth, the Pirates used a pair of hits and another St. John’s error to plate two runs and make it an 8-3 game heading to the bottom of the sixth.
Ellen Czuba led off the Red Storm half of the inning, reaching first on a Seton Hall error. Montez followed with a single through the left side, advancing Czuba to second. Rericha grounded short, allowing the SHU defense to get the lead runner. With one out, Burner doubled to left center, bringing home Montez and Rericha for a 10-3 STJ lead. Two batters later, Marcelino added a double of her own, scoring Burner and ending the game.
Free (2-10, 3.15 ERA) went the distance, striking out five with no walks and no earned runs to get the first conference win of her career.
In the second game of the day, Seton Hall jumped out early courtesy of a two-run home run by Danielle DeStaso for a 2-0 lead after the opening frame. The Pirates added to the lead in the second, using three singles to manufacture a run and a 3-0 lead.
Marcelino would single to open the bottom of the frame, advancing to second, but St. John’s couldn’t close the gap.
The fourth inning saw SHU plate five runs on three hits to take a commanding 8-0 lead. A leadoff single by Sam DeMasi was enough to chase St. John’s starter Beza and bring Free in relief. An STJ throwing error put runners on the corners with no outs, before a stolen base followed by a single made it a 4-0 game. With the bases loaded following a walk, Free enduced a strikeout, but wasn’t able to keep the Pirate bats at bay as another single added two more runs, prompting another pitching change and bringing in Aleshia Link. A walk and a pair of wild pitches allowed another SHU run scored before Beza re-entered in the pitching slot to get out of the jam and move to bottom of the frame.
Reed led off the St. John’s fourth with a double, but once against the Red Storm was unable to push anything across heading to the fifth frame. Two more Seton Hall hits and a third St. John’s error allowed two Pirate runs to score for a 10-0 SHU advantage heading to the bottom of the fifth.
Trying to extend the contest, Moyer led off the inning with a single to third base and two batters later Montez doubled to center putting runners at second and third with just one out, but SHU starter DeStaso would get out of the jam to get the win.
Beza (5-7, 3.81 ERA) took the loss for the Red Storm, striking out three and allowing just two walks.
St. John’s and Seton Hall will conclude their Easter Weekend series on Saturday, with the rubber match scheduled for a noon first pitch. Live chat, live stats and live audio featuring Jon Perez on the call will be available via the St. John’s Softball Gameday Central page on RedStormSports.com.
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