Feb. 20, 2009
DUNEDIN, Fla. - The St. John's baseball team pounded out 16 hits en route to a season-opening 15-6 win against Penn State in the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge. Gino Matias, Greg Hopkins and Joe Panik had three hits apiece, while Jimmy Parque added four RBI and Tim Morris had two RBI to pace St. John's (1-0). Bruce Kern (1-0) earned the win in his Red Storm debut with 4.0 scoreless innings and seven strikeouts. Mike Deese was 3-for-3 with an RBI for Penn State (0-1).
Brian Kemp singled up the middle on just the second pitch of the game to open up a three-run inning for St. John's in the top of the first. After Danny Benedetti walked, Paul Karmas grounded into a fielder's choice. An errant throw to first on the play, however, would allow Kemp to score. In his first collegiate at-bat, Joe Panik followed by roping an RBI triple down the right field line to give the Red Storm a 2-0 lead. Panik then scored on an RBI triple by Greg Hopkins.
Penn State would, however, cut into the lead with two runs in the bottom of the first. After Landon Nakata raced to a one-out double, Mike Deese connected for an RBI single. Jordan Steranka then doubled to right field to plate one run, but a good relay throw resulted in the third out at the plate.
St. John's loaded the bases with two outs in the second, but could not extend the lead.
The Red Storm went up 6-2 with a three-run third inning. After a one-out single by Hopkins, Joe Witkowski laced an RBI double into right centerfield. Tim Morris followed with an RBI double of his own and moved to third on a groundout before scoring on an RBI single by Kemp.
After allowing three hits in the first, Nick Cenatiempo retired nine of the next 12 batters and did not allow another hit until a two-out single in the fourth inning. The Nittany Lions would go on to plate two runs in the fourth after an error on a fly ball to leftfield off the bat of Wes Borden.
Witkowski led off the fifth with a single before a pair of one-out walks to Matias and Kemp loaded the bases. Benedetti then plated a run with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give St. John's a 7-4 lead. Parque would then empty the bases and give St. John's a 10-4 lead with a three-run home run; his first in a Red Storm uniform. The long ball would chase Lorentson from the game as Penn State would go to the bullpen for Calvin Grumley to finish the inning.
Deese led off the bottom of the fifth for Penn State with a double of Red Storm reliever Bruce Kern. After a groundout moved Deese to third, Kern tallied a strike out and induced a groundout to keep the Nittany Lions off the board.
After allowing the first two runners to reach in the sixth, Kern rebounded to strike out the side.
Gino Matias led off the seventh for St. John's with a single and Brian Kemp reached on an error. Benedetti then laid down a sacrifice bunt towards third base, but Matias was safe at third to load the bases. Parque then made it an 11-4 Red Storm lead with a sacrifice fly.
After leading off the eighth with a single, Panik stole second and moved to third on a groundout before pinch hitter Kevin Watkins walked to give St. John's first and third with one out. Morris then connected for an RBI single before Matias roped an RBI double into leftfield to give the Red Storm a 14-4 lead. Kemp then reached on an error that also allowed him to advance second and for another St. John's run to score.
Penn State loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth with a pair of singles and a walk, but Kern closed out the inning tallying his seventh strikeout of the game.
After the Nittany Lions loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth with no outs, Miguel Valcarcel entered and walked in one run before striking out the next two batters. Penn State grabbed one more unearned run to make it 15-6 before Valcarcel ended the game.
St. John's will continue play in the BIG EAST-Big Ten Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. against Iowa. The game will be played at Jack Russell Stadium.