#20 St. John’s notches walk-off win over Liberty
With two out and no one on in the home half of the ninth, the host Red Storm used three straight hits, including Shaw’s single, to eke out the win. St. John’s scored the last four runs of the contest.
Center fielder D.J. Artis posted his first four-hit game of the season and scored twice for the Flames. Two of the center fielder’s hits were doubles.
Liberty falls to 28-17 on the season. St. John’s moves to 31-11. The Red Storm have won 17 of their last 18 games.
After trailing the entire game last night, the Flames took a 1-0 edge in their opening at bat of the contest. Artis led off the game with a double and advanced to third on a ground out to first by left fielder Tre Todd. Third baseman Tyler Galazin then lifted a sacrifice fly to left, plating Artis for the visitors’ first lead of the weekend series.
Liberty extended its advantage in the second. The first five batters of the inning reached. Shortstop Cam Locklear opened the top of the inning with double into the right field corner and moved to third on a single by first baseman Dylan Allen. After right fielder Brandon Rohrer walked to load the bases, second baseman Ben Highfill dropped a run-scoring single into right field for a 2-0 edge. Artis followed by ripping a single back through the middle of the infield to bring home Allen for a 3-0 lead. The Flames tried to score Rohrer on Artis’ hit, but Red Storm center fielder Jamie Galazin, brother of Liberty’s Tyler, threw out the runner at home plate.
Thanks to a St. John’s error, Liberty upped its advantage in the top of the third. With one out, Embry ended up on second, when Red Storm third baseman John Valente threw wildly of first on a bunt by the Flames’ catcher. Two batters later, Allen lined a double off the right-center field wall for a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, St. John’s cut into the Liberty edge. Right fielder Anthony Brocato walked to open the frame and advanced to second on a one-out single by left fielder Mike Antico. After Brocato moved to third on a fly ball deep to center field, Antico stole second. Jamie Galazin followed with a two-run single, slicing the Flames’ lead to 4-2.
Liberty pushed its cushion back to three in the fourth. Artis led off the inning with a double off the top of the right-center field wall. After Todd walked, Tyler Galazin singled, loading the bases. Two batters later, Embry lifted a sacrifice fly to bring home Artis for a 5-2 edge.
Both teams plated runs in the fifth. Rohrer opened the inning with a single and later scored on a two-out single by Tyler Galazin. In the home half of the inning, Antico and Valente each singled with two out. Jamie Galazin followed with a two-run double off the left field wall, moving the Red Storm back to within two at 6-4.
After the Flames failed to plate a run for the first time in the game in the top of the sixth, St. John’s tied the score in the bottom of the inning. With two out and a runner aboard, Brocato belted a 1-2 pitch from Liberty reliever Jackson Bertsch over the left field wall for his ninth home run of the year, tying the contest at 6-6.
Both teams stranded runners in scoring position in the seventh. Liberty left runners at second and third in the top of the inning, while Flames’ center fielder Artis made a leaping grab up against the center field wall with two men on base to take an extra base hit away from St. John’s catcher Robert Boselli III in the bottom of the inning.
In the home half of the ninth, Bertsch struck out the first two Red Storm batters of the inning. Valente then singled to keep the frame alive and moved to third base on a double by Jamie Galazin. Shaw followed with a single through the left side of the infield to plate Valente for the victory.
Bertsch falls to 4-3. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits over 3 2/3 innings in relief of Flames’ starter Zach Clinton. He struck out five and walked one.
Gavin Hollowell raises his record to 3-0. The fourth St. John’s pitcher of the afternoon, Hollowell pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out two.
Liberty collected 13 hits in the contest. St. John’s had 11. The Red Storm committed the game’s only error.