The St. John’s baseball team extended its winning streak to four games, defeating Iona 9-1 Tuesday night at Jack Kaiser Stadium in Queens.
The Johnnies, who have not lost since April 27 in the first game of a three-game set at Xavier, improved to 29-11 on the season with the May 1 victory. Iona fell to 12-29.
St. John’s scored in each of the first two innings before putting the game out of reach with a five-run sixth.
Sam Lara started on the mound for the Red Storm and didn’t disappoint, tossing four scoreless innings before giving way to the bullpen. Joe LaSorsa surrendered the only run of the game in the sixth, but aside from that blip, the St. John’s bullpen tossed five strong innings in relief of Lara.
Jamie Galazin led the Johnnies at the plate, notching two hits and a walk, while driving in three runs in four plate appearances. John Valente scored three times and drove in a run. He has now reached base in 55 straight games dating back to last season. Pinch-hitter Brandon Miller recorded a two-run single off the bench with bases loaded in the sixth inning.
After a scoreless top of the first inning, the St. John’s offense got to work in the bottom of the frame.
Valente drew a lead-off walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third base on a grounder and scored on a Galazin grounder to give the Johnnies a 1-0 advantage heading into the second inning.
St. John’s added to its lead, scoring the three runs in the bottom half of the stanza. The Johnnies used two hit-by-pitches and a single to load the bases for Valente, who drove in a run with a single to right. Galazin followed with a two-run single to center, giving the Red Storm a 4-0 lead.
The score would remain 4-0 until the sixth inning, when the Iona offense came to life, putting together a rally to score its only run of the game off LaSora, who was in his second inning of work in relief of Lara.
Still leading 4-1, St. John’s exploded for five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Galazin recorded another RBI hit, driving in Jordan Gillerman and advancing Valente to second with one out. Valente moved to third on a fly ball to right field the following at-bat, Galazin caught the Iona pitcher napping, breaking to second after the pitcher got the ball back. That led to an errant throw into center field, which allowed both Valente and Galazin to score.
St. John’s then loaded the bases following a hit-by-pitch, a base hit and a walk, setting he stage for Miller, who drove in two with a single to right to wrap up the scoring.
The season is starting to wind down for No. 20 St. John’s. The club is hosting a three-game set against Liberty at home this weekend before traveling to New Jersey for a three-game series at Seton Hall.
The Johnnies will wrap up their regular season with four home games — one against Minnesota and three against Butler — before the Big East Baseball Championship, which is slated to begin May 24.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe