March 11, 2012
LYNCHBURG, Va. -
Sean O'Hare homered and had two RBI, while Stephen Rivera tossed 3.2 scoreless innings of relief as St. John's defeated Liberty, 3-1, to conclude its season-opening 14-game road trip. O'Hare finished 2-for-3 and also added a double to lead St. John's (5-9), while Robert Case added an RBI. Rivera (1-0), who did not allow a hit, retired the first 11 batters he faced and added four strikeouts. Michael Robertson had the lone RBI for Liberty (16-2), while Jacob Kemmerer (2-1) took the loss after allowing two runs in 6.2 innings.
St. John's used the long ball to grab a 1-0 lead in the third as O'Hare lifted a solo home run to right center to lead off the frame.
Starter Eddie Medina rolled a 6-4-3 double play to erase a leadoff walk in the fourth, but Liberty tried to mount a two-out rally as an error and a walk set up runners on first and second. The righty, however, got out of the inning with a strikeout.
Liberty threatened again in the fifth as back-to-back walks opened the inning and chased Medina from the game. Rivera, however, entered and induced a lineout, a groundout and a flyout to escape the jam and keep the Flames off the board.
The Red Storm chased Kemmerer and added a run to go up 2-0 in the seventh. Matt Wessinger lined a leadoff single into center before Martin Kelly drew a two-out walk and Liberty went to the bullpen. O'Hare promptly greeted Shawn Clowers with an RBI double off the chalk in left field before Blake Forslund entered and got the final out of the inning.
Rivera, meanwhile, retired the first 11 batters he faced before plunking Bryan Aanderud with two outs in the eighth. James Lomangino entered and surrendered a single to set up runners on first and second, but rebounded to induce a groundball that set up an inning-ending force at second base.
Back-to-back walks to Jeremy Baltz
and Zach Lauricella
opened the ninth as St. John's added an insurance run. Liberty then went to the bullpen and Kelly advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt before an intentional walk to O'Hare loaded the bases. Case then lined an RBI single up the middle and the Red Storm took a 3-0 lead.
Liberty threatened in the ninth with three hits, but was limited to one run. After Zack Haley doubled with one out, Ian Parmley reached on a bunt single as Haley took third on a throwing error on the play. A two-out RBI single by Robertson made it a 3-1 game, but Lomangino got a game-ending strikeout to notch his third save.
St. John's returns to action at 3 p.m. on March 14, hosting FDU at Kaiser Stadium in the home-opener.