After his team rallied from two sizeable deficits to sweep a doubleheader from Rutgers on Saturday, St. John’s baseball Coach Ed Blankmeyer knew the Scarlet Knights’ psyche was damaged.
“What they went through yesterday, I would have thrown myself under the bus or I would have been drinking very heavily,” Blankmeyer said. “I told the guys if you jump these guys early, they’ll be done.”
That’s just what the Red Storm did on Sunday, getting out to a six-run lead after three innings en route to a 15-5 blowout of the Scarlet Knights at Jack Kaiser Stadium in Queens.
After losing its first Big East series to Georgetown since 2000 last weekend, St. John’s (17-10, 7-2 Big East) swept Rutgers (12-16, 2-7) in decisive fashion, scoring 42 runs in the three-game series.
On Sunday, the Red Storm pounded out 15 runs on 17 hits, the two biggest coming off the bat of Tim Morris. The junior first baseman crushed a pair of two-run home runs in his first three at-bats. He had five RBIs and scored five runs on the day.
“Wind, no wind, I don’t care. Those things were bombs,” Blankmeyer said. “That first one I think is still going.”
On a 2-0 count, Rutgers starter Charlie Law threw Morris a fastball middle-in and the slugger tattooed the ball, nearly sending it off campus and onto Utopia Parkway.
“Timmy Morris came out and absolutely crushed the ball and we just kept tacking on runs,” Blankmeyer said. “We swung the bats and wore them down.”
After being walked in the third inning, Morris blasted another two-run bomb to deep right to put the Red Storm in front 10-2 after four innings.
“Those are ones where it feels pretty good,” Morris said. “You hit it right off the bat and you know they’re gone. I don’t want to stand and watch, but I went right into the trot and knew they both were gone when I hit them.”
Morris, who leads the Red Storm with a .441 batting average, now has six home runs, tied with Greg Hopkins for the team lead.
“I was feeling better,” Morris said. “Yesterday I felt like I was off balance, but today I was trying to get more balance and got myself in good hitters’ counts and got good pitches to hit.”
Brian Kemp, who feasted off of Scarlet Knights pitching all weekend, got into the act with a solo home run to right to open the Red Storm’s three-run fifth inning and the lead ballooned to 13-2. Danny Benedetti also drove in five runs and was four-for-four.
“Offensively, all our guys did a pretty good job,” Blankmeyer said. “We always try and keep the chain moving.”
Brendan Lobban was the beneficiary of the offensive explosion and the freshman left-hander allowed two earned runs in six innings, striking out four with three walks to improve to 3-1.
Law surrendered 10 runs, seven earned, on six hits in 3 2/3 innings to fall to 1-3.
After hosting Wagner in a non-league game Tuesday afternoon, St. John’s heads to West Virginia for a critical three-game series starting Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.
The Johnnies are tied with South Florida for second place in the Big East, one game behind first-place West Virginia.
“What a difference a weekend makes,” Blankmeyer said. “We’ll see what next weekend brings.”
©2009 Community News Group
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