Madison Morris Shuts Out Butler to Clinch No. 1 Seed
A shutout performance from senior Madison Morris helped secure the No. 1 seed for the St. John's softball team at the BIG EAST Softball Championship in Sunday's split doubleheader against Butler.
With the 1-0 victory in game one and DePaul's loss on Friday, the Red Storm (27-21, 14-4 BIG EAST) captured its third BIG EAST regular-season title in the last five years. The Johnnies were the only team to finish the 2019 campaign with a win percentage over .700 in conference play (.778).
History has been in St. John's favor when entering the tournament as the No. 1 seed. The 2015 squad earned the top spot in the league tournament before bringing the program's first BIG EAST Championship back to Queens. In 2017, St. John's received conference coaching staff of the year honors for its successful campaign.
Morris outdueled Butler's Alyssa Graves in the opening game to solidify the No. 1 seed in the league's postseason with a 1-0 victory.
The Johnnies' ace allowed runners on through the first three innings, working her way out of a trio of jams and stranding four Bulldogs. The Hampton, Va., native settled down in the fourth and fifth frames, retiring five straight batters before being tested again in the following inning. Morris recorded two of her six strikeouts in the sixth by denying Butler's (16-32, 4-12 BIG EAST) two-out rally and leaving runners on first and third.
Kaitlin Mattera made two big defensive plays to keep Butler at bay. In the fifth inning, the Coventry, R.I., native caught the Bulldogs' Alyssa Garcia stealing second to prevent the home team from putting a runner in scoring position. In the following inning, she nearly scaled the mesh behind home plate to make a catch in the next frame.
The Red Storm scored its lone run of the game in the visitor half of the sixth. Junior Marissa Rizzi lined a double down the left-field line to start the inning. Two pitches later, freshman Peyton Cody knocked in her 44th RBI of the season on a single to score the Johnnies' first baseman. The Mission Viejo, Calif., native fell two-shy of tying Gretchen Bowie's rookie record for most RBIs in a season.
St. John's dropped its final game of the 2019 campaign, 8-0, in six innings.
The Bulldogs scored three times in the first two frames on a two-run homer and an error on a stolen base.
Freshman Kaitlyn Lologo supplied the Johnnies' only hit in the second contest, knocking a single to short in the third inning.
Butler drove in one run on a single in the fifth frame to extend its lead to four. In the final inning, the Bulldogs crossed the plate four times on seven hits to end the game, 8-0.
The Johnnies are slated to open the BIG EAST Softball Tournament against No. 4 seed Villanova on Friday, May 10. First pitch is scheduled for noon CT. For more information on the two-day tournament, fans can go to BIGEAST.com.