Feb. 26, 2010
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Freshman Jeremy Baltz was 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI to lead the St. John's baseball team past Minnesota, 5-4, in the Big Ten-BIG EAST Challenge. Paul Karmas, Joe Panik and Sean O'Hare each added an RBI for St. John's (4-0). Freshman Matt Carasiti (2-0) earned the win in relief, tossing 3.2 scoreless innings. Nick O'Shea had two RBI, while Justin Gominsky and Michael Kvasnicka had one apiece for Minnesota (2-2).
St. John's took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a solo home run by Baltz.
Scott Ferrara opened up a three-run third inning for the Red Storm with a lead off single. Hopkins then singled through the right side with Ferrara in motion to set up first and third with one out. A Karmas sacrifice fly made it 2-0 before Panik plated a run with an RBI triple to the gap in right center. Baltz followed with an RBI single to put St. John's up 4-0.
Bruce Kern allowed a pair of base runners in the first inning, but then retired seven in a row and nine of the next 10. After allowing a walk and a double with one out in the fourth, the righty kept Minnesota off the board by striking out the next two batters.
Minnesota broke through with two runs in the fifth inning. After a lead off single by Troy Larson, Gominsky doubled into right field to plate Larson all the way from first. AJ Pettersen followed with a bunt single before Kern induced a groundout. With runners on second and third and one out, St. John's went to the bullpen and brought in Carasiti. After allowing an RBI single to O'Shea, Carasiti induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to end the frame.
After leading off the eighth with a single, Matt Wessinger moved to second on a Joe Witkowski sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Ferrara was then plunked before Jimmy Parque drew a walk to load the bases with one out and chase reliever Scott Fern. Tim Ryan, however, would retire Hopkins and Karmas to keep St. John's off the board.
St. John's added an insurance run in the ninth inning to take a 5-2 lead. After being plunked to lead off the frame, Panik moved to second on a groundout and advanced to third on a wild pitch. O'Hare then plated Panik with a sacrifice fly into right field.
Ryan Cole entered in the ninth for St. John's and issued a lead off walk to pinch hitter Drew Hanish and a one-out walk to Pettersen. After Kvasnicka plated a run with an RBI single into left center field, O'Shea chased Cole with an RBI double off the wall in left field. Daniel Burawa entered and needed just one pitch to end the game with a ground out and earn his first-career save.
St. John's returns to action in the Big Ten-BIG EAST Challenge at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 against Michigan.
Notes: Kern allowed two earned runs, while striking out five in 4.1 innings to earn a no-decision ... Kern has 13 strikeouts in 9.1 innings of work this season ... the home run for Baltz was the first of his career ... St. John's is 2-0 at Dunedin Stadium in Big Ten-BIG EAST Challenge games, having also defeated Penn State, 15-6, in the inaugural Challenge.