Feb. 29, 2008
ROCK HILL, S.C. - The No. 24 Red Storm baseball team trailed in a game for the first time this season, but came back to defeat Winthrop, 3-2, in extra innings. Justin Gutsie (1-0) picked up the win after pitching 3.0 shutout innings and freshman Paul Karmas singled with one out in the tenth to plate the game-winning run for the Red Storm. St. John's (6-0) is off to its best start since a 14-0 start to open up the 1981 season.
For the first time this season the Red Storm's opponent scored first as the Eagles (2-4) plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. Kevin Nolan singled with one out before Eddie Tisdale was hit by a pitch and Eddie Rohan reached on an error to load the bases. John Murrian and Tony Brunetti followed with RBI singles before lefty George Brown got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts.
Brown settled down after the first inning by retiring 15 of the next 18 batters. The lefty also retired the final six batters he faced before being replaced by Gutsie after 6.0 innings of work. Brown tallied five strikeouts and earned the no-decision after allowing two runs and five hits.
The Red Storm cut into the lead in the third after Gino Matias led off with a hard single past the third baseman. Matias stole second with one out and Carlos Del Rosario followed with a walk. Karmas then hit a soft liner into left field to bring in Matias.
Jeff Grantham led off the fourth inning with a double to set the table for another run scoring inning for St. John's. Greg Hopkins then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Winthrop pitcher Ryan Schwartz made a throwing error and, during the same play, Grantham came around to score after a throwing error by second baseman Aaron Bonomi.
Winthrop's Robert Lake replaced Schwartz on the mound after 3.1 innings and quickly retired the first five Red Storm batters he faced. Lake pitched 4.2 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits and one walk to keep the Red Storm at bay and the score tied at 2-2.
Gutsie, meanwhile, retired the first seven Eagles he faced before allowing a one-out single in the ninth. Gutsie, though, needed just three pitches to get the final two outs in the ninth and send the game into extra innings.
Del Rosario led off the tenth with a single and then advanced to second after Chris Anninos laid down a sacrifice bunt. Karmas then drove a hard single up the middle to plate Del Rosario for what proved to be the game-winning run.
The Eagles tried to rally in the bottom of the tenth, but could not plate the tying run. Colin Lynch walked Bonomi to lead off the inning and Kevin Nolan followed with a grounder to Lynch. After Lynch threw to second base to erase Bonomi, Grantham overthrew first and Nolan advanced to second base. Nolan moved to third on a groundout, but Lynch closed the door by striking out Rohan to end the game. Lynch now has three saves in three chances this season.