Two Down

St. John's pitcher Matt Tosoni's strong effort, combined with key West Virginia miscues, combined for another Mountaineer loss at Hawley Field on Saturday.

St. John's battered Mountaineer pitching for 11 runs and cruised to an 11-3 win -- its second in as many games in the series. The Johnnies scored in five of the nine innings in the contest, including six in the final two frames to turn the contest into a laugher.

As it did on Friday, the Johnnies jumped out on top with a solo run in the top of the first. Brian Kemp singled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, advanced to third on a fly ball out, then came home on an infield single.

The visitors broke out with three more runs in the fourth inning, helped by two Mountaineer miscues. A leadoff walk, a throwing error and a wild pitch made two St. John's hits account for far more than they should have, and put West Virginia in a deep hole at 4-0. And when the Red Storm added another run in the first, again aided by a WVU error, it was all over but the shouting.

West Virginia managed to get on the board in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of Jason Pape's leadoff home run, and when Chris Enourato, playing at third, followed with a single, visions of a rally danced through the Mountaineers' heads. However, the momentum was broken by yet another sacrifice bunt, this time by leadoff hitter Adam White (hitting .386 on the season), which moved Enourato to second but cost an out while WVU trailed by four runs. Two more outs quickly followed, however, leaving the deficit at four.

The Red Storm added three runs in the eighth, chasing WVU starter Matt Yurish in the process. Reliever Billy Gross was no more effective, allowing two inherited runners to score, then permitting three more of his own in the ninth.

Justin Jenkins extended his league and school consecutive games hitting streak record in his final at bat with a two-run homer. That hit followed White's single, which came when he was allowed to swing away.

St. John's pitcher Matt Tosoni was steadily efficient through the first seven innings. He left after walking Austin Markel (which immediately followed Jenkins' blast in the seventh), but his performance was more than enough to earn the win. He allowed three earned runs on nine hits, but walked just two batters. All three of the earned runs came on Mountaineer homers.

West Virginia continued its longball barrage in the series, adding two to the three it clubbed on Friday. However, the Mountaineers couldn't mount enough offense or scoring chances to keep pace with the Red Storm.

For WVU, Yurish allowed six earned runs (seven overall). The scores came on just eight hits, as several key walks and errors helped fuel the St. John's scoring machine. Yurish struck out ten, but walked six and was the victim of three Mountaineer errors. Releiver Billy Gross allowed four earned runs in two innings, and allowed two walks ans a home run.

The series closes with a single game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., as West Virginia, 6-10 in the league, tries to salvage the finale of the three game set.

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