March 14, 2009
QUEENS, N.Y. - Sophomore Paul Karmas plated what proved to be the game-winning run with an RBI groundout in the fifth inning as the St. John's baseball team defeated Fairfield, 3-2. Karmas and Jimmy Parque each had an RBI to lead St. John's (6-6). Bruce Kern (2-0) allowed just two runs and added five strikeouts in 5.2 innings of work. For Fairfield (2-7), starter Rob Gariano allowed three runs, while scattering four hits in 8.0 innings.
For the second-straight game St. John's tallied a run in the first inning after Brian Kemp set the table by reaching via a hit by pitch. Kemp quickly stole second and moved to third on a groundout. After a walk to Parque, Gariano was called for a balk and Kemp trotted home.
Kern faced the minimum through the first 2.2 innings, before the Stags tied the game on a solo home run by Mark Skrapits in the third.
In the fourth, Fairfield took a 2-1 lead. After back-to-back singles by Matt Tiagwad and Tucker Nathans to open the inning, Tiagwad was picked off at second base when catcher Danny Benedetti threw down and shortstop Joe Panik applied the tag. Jason Rago then walked to load the bases before David Dudish singled home Nathans to give Fairfield the lead.
St. John's answered in the fifth with two runs to take a 3-2 lead, an advantage the squad would not relinquish. With one out Kemp walked and stole second. Following a Panik walk, Parque plated Kemp with a double into left center field. Karmas followed with an RBI groundout that plated the Red Storm's third run.
Ryan Cole relieved Kern with two outs in the fifth and went on to strikeout three batters in 2.1 innings.
Looking for his second save in as many days, Miguel Valcarcel entered in the ninth and quickly retired the first two batters with a pair of strikeouts. The righty, however, walked the next two batters and was relieved by Rich Armento. After Armento loaded the bases with a walk, Skrapits came to the plate. With the count at 2-1, Armento threw a pitch in the dirt that got past Benedetti. Pinch runner Bill Rafferty raced towards home, but Benedetti chased down the loose ball and threw to Armento, who applied the tag at home for the third and final out.
St. John's takes on Albany for the second time in three days with a 1 p.m. game on March 15 at Jack Kaiser Stadium.