Feb. 18, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Sean Hagan worked 6.0 scoreless innings in his season-debut and St. John's sent eight men to the plate in a four-run sixth inning to defeat Minnesota, 6-1, in the fourth annual Big Ten-BIG EAST Challenge. Hagan (1-0) had five strikeouts, walked one and surrendered one hit, a fourth-inning single, to lead St. John's (1-1). Martin Kelly was 2-for-3 with two RBI, while Matt Wessinger and Zach Lauricella had two hits apiece to lead the Red Storm. Tom Windle (0-1) took the loss for Minnesota (1-1), allowing two runs in 4.2 innings of work.
Back-to-back walks to open the bottom of the second inning helped St. John's take a 1-0 lead in the frame. After Wessinger worked a walk and stole second, Lauricella also walked before Kelly advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Kevin Grove followed with an RBI groundout as the Red Storm went up 1-0.
Hagan, meanwhile, had two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 second and two more Ks in a 1-2-3 third inning. The lefty eventually retired 11-straight Gophers before allowing a one-out single in the top of the fifth.
A leadoff single by Kelly set the table for another Red Storm run in the fifth. After consecutive groundouts moved Kelly to third, Minnesota went to the bullpen. Pat Talbut then promptly greeted reliever Ben Meyer with an RBI double and St. John's took a 2-0 lead.
The Gophers threatened in the sixth as Ethan Leiderman reached on an error before Troy Larson was plunked with one out, but Hagan induced his second-straight inning-ending double play to keep Minnesota off the board.
St. John's sent eight men to the plate as part of a four-run sixth. Sean O'Hare was plunked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. A one-out Wessinger single set up runners on the corners before Lauricella made it 3-0 with an RBI single. Wessinger and Lauricella then pulled off a double steal before Kelly roped a two-run double to make it a 5-0 game. After a Grove groundout pushed Kelly to third base, Frank Schwindel promptly made it 6-0 with an RBI single and Minnesota went to the bullpen to get out the inning.
Stephen Rivera came on in the seventh and had two strikeouts in the inning. Minnesota then loaded the bases on an error and two walks in the eighth, but Rivera left the bases loaded with an inning-ending groundout.
The Gophers did, however, get on the board in the ninth as a two-out RBI double from Tony Skjefte made it a 6-1 game. Rivera had five strikeouts in the final 3.0 innings to record the save.
St. John's concludes play in the Big Ten-BIG EAST Challenge on Feb. 19 with a 10 a.m. game against Illinois at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium in Clearwater.