By Joseph Staszewski
The only thing that could stop the St. John’s baseball team heading into Big East play was 25 to 30 miles per hour winds and near freezing temperatures.
The poor weather kept the Red Storm’s winning streak at seven coming into this week as its series finale with NYIT was cancelled on Sunday. St. John’s won the first team games, including an 8-1 victory behind starting pitcher Ryan McAuliffe on the road on Saturday.
The junior tossed six innings of one-run ball and struck out six while getting plenty of run support. Troy Dixon went 3-for-3 with three RBI. Michael Donadio went 2-for-3 with a solo home run and three runs scored and Jesse Berardi was 2-for-4 with a solo home run.
NYIT’s only run came on a solo homer by Anthony Caradonna in the firth inning to cut the St. John’s lead to 5-1. The Johnnies jumped on top by scoring three times in the top of the first inning, thanks to a Dixon RBI single and two NYIT errors.
The Red Storm pushed the advantage to 5-0 by the top of the fifth with an RBI single by Dixon in the fourth. Berardi led off the fifth with a solo homer. Dixon, Donadio and Gu Gingras each brought in runs over the final four innings. Joey Christopher, Turner French and Joe Kelly combined for three innings of scoreless relief.
St. John’s has not lost since a 5-1 defeat on the road at Nevada March 19 and still had to face Columbia, which reached the NCAA tournament last year, on Wednesday before opening its Big East slate with a three-game series against Georgetown starting Friday at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
During the streak, Red Storm coach Ed Blankmeyer picked up his 700th career win during a 9-5 victory against Wagner March 30. Blankmeyer, who is in his 21st season with the Red Storm, reached the milestone in 1,134 games (700-430-4, .619) and is already the winningest coach in program history.