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St. John’s rallies, tops JMU baseball, 7-5

jmu logoSt. John’s plated four runs in the eighth to rally past JMU for a 7-5 victory on Saturday in the second game of a non-conference baseball series at Kaiser Stadium.

SJU won its ninth in a row and 20th overall at home to improve to 12-10. JMU fell to 8-13.

JMU led 5-3 going into the bottom of the eighth when the Red Storm charged ahead with a four-run frame. A leadoff walk was followed by a double with an outfield error to score the first round. Zach Lauricella’s RBI single then tied the score to end the day for JMU starter Chris Huffman (Fort Defiance, Va./Fort Defiance). A single with another outfield error put runners on the corners with one out. A wild pitch then plated the go-ahead run, and St. John’s added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly from Joe Burns.

Reliever Matt Hennie earned the win for St. John’s with one inning pitched while Joe Kuzia picked up the save with a quiet ninth. Huffman was saddled with the loss after being credited with six runs allowed on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings.

Senior second baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) and senior right fielder Tyler Gregory (Dothan, Ala./Houston Academy) each had two hits for JMU.

Lauricella had the only multiple-hit game for the Red Storm as JMU led SJU in hits 7-5.

Brown’s RBI triple put the Dukes in the lead in the first. That lead lasted until the fifth when St. John’s posted a pair on back-to-back doubles by Troy Dixon and Alex Caruso.

JMU pushed back ahead in the sixth as redshirt freshman first baseman Brett Johnson (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne’s-Belfield) doubled to drive in a run and senior Nick Merullo (Madison, Conn./Daniel Hand) followed with an RBI groundout to reclaim the lead at 3-2.

After a double and a sacrifice bunt in the sixth, the Red Storm tied the score at 3-3 on an RBI groundout by Michael Donadio.

The back-and-forth continued as JMU pushed back in front in the seventh with redshirt senior first baseman Matt Tenaglia (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) leading off with his third home run of the season. Brown doubled and later scored on a single by sophomore Bobby San Martin (Fairfax, Va./Centreville) to make it 5-3.

The series wraps up Sunday with a 1 p.m. first pitch and free viewing coverage on ESPN3.