March 13, 2009
QUEENS, N.Y. - Sophomore Greg Hopkins blasted a tie-breaking three-run home run in the seventh inning to lead the St. John's baseball team past Albany, 8-6. Jimmy Parque, Tim Morris and Gino Matias had two hits apiece to help pace St. John's (5-6). Kevin Kilpatrick (1-0) tallied three strikeouts in 2.2 innings to earn the win. Gary Pitcheralle had three hits, while Kyle Crean had two for Albany (1-8).
St. John's took the early 1-0 lead in the bottom of first. After Brian Kemp was plunked by Albany starter Josh Willimott to open the inning, he advanced to second on a passed ball. Kemp moved to third on a Matt Wessinger groundout, before scoring on a Parque sacrifice fly.
The Great Danes came right back in the second to tie the score at 1-1. Following a strikeout, Mike Tirri walked and advanced to second on a passed ball. After another Nick Luisi strikeout, Kyle Crean singled into center field to plate Tirri.
Albany would take a 3-1 lead with a pair of runs in the third. Sean Donovan walked to lead off the inning before Brendan Rowland sent a grounder to third. Both runners were safe on the play, however, as the throw to second base for the force out sailed wide. Ryan Gugel then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Luisi fielded it cleanly and threw the lead runner out at third. After a walk, Tirri singled in a run and a Pete DiResta sacrifice fly brought home the second run of the inning for the Great Danes.
Morris opened a one-run fourth for St. John's with a lead off double. After Joe Panik drew a one-out walk, Matias singled to load the bases. Willimott then walked Kemp to force in a run.
St. John's evened the score at 3-3 with a run in the sixth. With one out, Danny Benedetti reached on an error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After moving to third on another wild pitch, Matias singled up the middle to plate Benedetti.
The Red Storm took the lead for good with a three-run seventh. Parque opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a Paul Karmas sacrifice bunt. After Morris was intentionally walked, Hopkins blasted a three-run home run over the fence in left field to put St. John's up 6-3.
Kemp singled to lead off a two-run eighth inning for St. John's, but was erased at second on a Wessinger fielder's choice. Wessinger then stole second and moved to third on a ground out. Scott Ferrara then walked and stole second before Morris reached on an error by the shortstop that also allowed a pair of runs to score and put the Red Storm up 8-3.
After retiring six of the first seven batters, Kilpatrick allowed three-consecutive singles to pinch hitter Jaime Leibowitz, Pitcheralle and Sean Donovan to load the bases. Brendan Rowland and Gugel each followed with RBI groundouts before Dave West singled in a run to make it an 8-6 game. Miguel Valcarcel entered the game with the tying run at the plate and notched his first save of the season by striking out Tirri to end the game.
St. John's takes on Fairfield at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 14 at Jack Kaiser Stadium.