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St. John’s Comeback Falls Short Against Columbia, 11-9

QUEENS, N.Y. – The St. John’s baseball team fell to Columbia, 11-9, in its midweek matchup at Jack Kaiser Stadium on Tuesday.
 
Seven different Johnnies scored at least one run on the afternoon with Anthony Brienza and Jimmy Keenan recording two tallies apiece. First baseman Marty Higgins produced a three-RBI day against the Lions, going 1-for-3 with a run scored. Garrett Scavelli also went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs.
 
Freshman Jacob Ruiz, who has not pitched in a game in nearly two years after undergoing Tommy John surgery, made his collegiate debut on Tuesday. The Jersey City, N.J., native tossed 17 pitches in his return, retiring three of the four batters he faced in the opening frame.
 
The Johnnies (23-8-1) broke out to a 4-0 edge in the bottom of the second. Brienza laced an RBI single into left-center to take the lead, followed by Max Aude scoring on a wild pitch. After a walk to Ben Beauchamp to load the bases, Higgins ripped a two-run single into center to double the Red Storm advantage.
 
Columbia (15-15) took the lead in the top of the third after scoring five runs in the frame to claim a 5-4 edge. Scavelli brought the inning to a screeching halt after launching a strike from left field to Aude at the plate and throwing out Columbia’s Sam Miller for the final out of the frame.
 
Both teams were held off the board until the Lions scored one run in the top of the fifth to take a 6-4 edge.
 
St. John’s retaliated with a two-spot in the home half of the frame. Keenan belted an RBI ground-rule double to center, knocking in Higgins from second and slashing the team’s deficit in half, 6-5. Following a Luke Orbon single up the middle, Scavelli found a hole through the left side to bring home the Johnnies’ designated hitter, tying the game at six.
 
After Columbia scored another run in the top of the sixth, the Johnnies responded with two of their own in the bottom of the stanza. Brienza reached on an error and swiped second before Beauchamp swapped spots with an RBI double down the left-field line to tie the game at seven. The Johnnies’ right fielder advanced to third on a wild pitch before evading a tag at the plate on a sacrifice fly from Higgins to take an 8-7 lead.
 
The Lions pulled away with a four-run frame in the eighth, capitalizing on four straight hits to start the inning and a sacrifice bunt to take an 11-8 advantage.
 
Jackson Tucker extended his hitting streak to 15 games and his reached base safely streak to 21 contests with a one-out double in the eighth.
 
St. John’s rallied in the ninth with a leadoff single from Keenan. After moving 180 feet on a groundout and a wild pitch, Scavelli ripped an RBI single through the right side to pull the Johnnies within two, 11-9. The Lions staved off the threat to earn their two-run victory.
 
The Red Storm returns to action this weekend when Butler comes to Jack Kaiser Stadium for a three-game series beginning on Friday. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.
 

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