Feb. 27, 2013
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Playing a ranked opponent for the fourth-straight game to continue a Spring Trip that will include seven-straight games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, St. John's was defeated by No. 1 North Carolina, 18-5, as the Tar Heels set the tone with a nine-run second inning and took advantage of 11 walks issued by Red Storm pitchers.
Martin Kelly finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored in the leadoff spot for St. John's (1-7), while Alex Caruso had a pinch-hit two-run single and Zach Lauricella was 1-for-3 with two RBI. Alex Katz (0-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing four runs in 1.1 innings of work. Colin Moran was 2-for-2 with two RBI and four walks to help pace North Carolina (7-0), while Cody Stubbs and Tom Zengel added three RBI apiece.
St. John's threatened in the first inning, but stranded a runner at third base. After Kelly singled to lead off the inning, a Pat Talbut sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch gave the Red Storm a runner on third with just one out. Trent Thornton, however, responded with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning.
North Carolina also threatened in the first, but was kept off the board. Katz retired the first two batters of the inning before Moran worked a walk and Skye Bolt singled to set up runners on first and second. Katz, however, induced a pop up in foul territory to keep the game scoreless.
The Tar Heels chased Katz from the ballgame and took advantage of four doubles and three Red Storm errors in a nine-run second inning. Michael Russell led off with a double before a Grayson Atwood RBI single made it 1-0. Atwood later scored on a wild pitch before a one-out walk and a double sent St. John's to the bullpen. Landon Lassiter then greeted reliever Anthony Rosati with a two-run double before Moran walked and Bolt followed with an RBI single. Stubbs added an RBI double before Russell reached on an infield single. Rosati followed with a strikeout before reliever Matt Clancy entered and allowed an RBI single to Zolk to make it 9-0.
St. John's responded quickly with a two-run third. After Dustin Breshears reached on an error to lead off the inning, Kelly singled with one out before Talbut walked to load the bases. Lauricella then lined a two-out RBI single into center and the Red Storm cut the deficit to 9-2.
UNC answered, however, as three walks, one hit batsman and one error helped the Tar Heels plate two runs in the bottom of the frame.
After entering and retiring the final two batters in the third inning, reliever Joey Christopher worked a scoreless fourth and added a 1-2-3 fifth frame.
Christopher eventually retired five-straight batters before a one-out single and a walk in the sixth sent St. John's back to the bullpen. Reliever Jerome Werniuk then allowed a pair of two-run singles and a three-run double to make it 18-2 before being lifted in favor of Anthony Cervone.
The first four batters reached base as St. John's plated two runs in the seventh. Breshears led off with a bloop single into center before Ty Blankmeyer blooped a single into left field. Kelly then grounded a single up the middle to load the bases with no outs before a wild pitch plated a run and left the Red Storm with runners on second and third. Pinch hitter Caruso then lined a two-run single into right field and the Tar Heels went to the bullpen and got out of the inning with a double play and a strikeout.
Cervone and Thomas Hackimer combined for 2.2 scoreless innings to finish out the game for the Red Storm.
St. John's returns to action at 5 p.m. on March 1 for game one of a three-game series at East Carolina.