QUEENS, N.Y. – Mike Ionta (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) and James Spadaccini (Butler, N.J./Butler) each hit an RBI single in the eighth to lift Saint Peter's past St. John's 9-8 in non-conference baseball action on Tuesday.
Trailing 8-7 after the Red Storm (19-14-1) scored four times in the seventh, Griffin Arnott (Brielle, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) reached on an infield single and moved to second on a bunt. After Angel Perez (Jersey City, N.J./Marist HS) walked, Ionta tied the game with an RBI single to right field to score Arnott. With two outs and the bases loaded, Spadaccini then plated Perez with the decisive run on a run-scoring single to right field for a 9-8 edge.
The Peacocks (6-26) retired the final six batters for St. John's to secure its first win against the Big East program and its first win against a big name school since defeating Rutgers 10-4 on May 7, 2013.
Spadaccini paced Saint Peter's with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI and Arnott had two hits and two runs scored. Nick Cardamone (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) added two hits and three RBIS and Tommy Toole (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) registered two hits, two RBIs and a run scored in the winning effort.
Jesse Berardi paced the Red Storm with a 4-for-4 performance with two RBIs and two runs scored and Alex Caruso added three hits, an RBI and a run scored in the loss.
The two teams traded the lead a couple of times during the game before the Peacocks scored twice in the eighth to earn the victory.
St. John's jumped out to a 4-0 lead after scoring four times in the first. Michael Donadio hit an RBI single before Bernadi plated two runs on a triple and Mark Venice reached on an RBI error for the fourth run to score.
Saint Peter's answered with two runs in the second and two runs in the third to tie the game at 4.
In the second, Toole singled to shortstop and Arnott doubled down the right field line to put runners on second and third before Cardomone singled up the middle to bring both runners home and cut the margin to 4-2.
Rob Moore (Ridge, N.Y./Longwood) singled up the middle with two outs, Spadaccini was hit with the pitch and Jason Midkiff (Wanaque, N.J./Paramus Catholic) walked to load the bases. Toole then singled up the middle to score both Moore and Spadaccini to tie the game at 4.
The Peacocks then scored three times in the fifth to take a 7-4 lead. Jon Kristoffersen (Jefferson, N.J,/Jefferson Township) and Moore walked before Spadaccini singled on a bunt to load the bases. Midkiff then coaxed a bases loaded walk to give Saint Peter's its first lead of the day. Moore scored when Toole grounded into a double play and Cardamone came through again with a two-out single through the left side to plate Spadaccini to hand the Jersey City team a three-run edge.
Held off the scoreboard since the first inning, the Red Storm posted its second four-run inning of the afternoon in the eighth to reclaim the lead at 8-7. Gavin Garay and Robbie Knighties hit back-to-back run-scoring singles before Alex Caruso plated a run on an infield single and Josh Shaw handed St. John's the lead on a sacrifice fly. The lead was short-lived after the Peacocks scored twice in the eighth and held on for the win.
Tom Puza (Point Pleasant, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) pitched the final 2.2 innings to pick up the victory.
The two teams will complete the home-and-home series on Wednesday with a game at Jaroschak Field. Game time is 3:30 p.m. St. John's will be coming to Jersey City for the first time since 2004.