March 20, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - Martin Kelly broke a tie game in the sixth inning with a two-out, two-run double as St. John's defeated LIU Brooklyn, 9-6, to notch its fifth-straight win. Kelly and Alex Caruso each finished 1-for-3 with two RBI to lead St. John's (7-11), while Dan Roland was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Anthony Rosati (1-0) allowed two runs in 2.0 innings of work to earn the win out of the bullpen. Kevin Needham was 3-for-4 with two RBI and Mike Garcia finished 2-for-4 with two RBI to pace LIU Brooklyn (1-13). Chris Franzese (0-4) took the loss after allowing seven runs, five earned, in 5.2 innings.
St. John's took advantage of a pair of errors to take a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Caruso walked to leadoff the inning before Kelly reached on an error to give the Red Storm runners on second and third with one out. Frank Schwindel then put St. John's on the board with an RBI groundout, but an error on the play allowed Kelly to score and gave the Red Storm a 2-0 lead.
A two-out walk to Roland set the table for a run in the second as St. John's went up 3-0. After Dustin Breshears singled to center to give the Red Storm runners on the corners, Caruso followed with an RBI single into center.
Starter Mike Sheppard III worked a 1-2-3 second frame before LIU got on the board with a run in the third after Evan Emerich singled to leadoff the inning. Emerich took second on an errant pickoff throw and moved to third on a groundout before scoring on a Chris Untereiner RBI groundout as the Blackbirds made it a 3-1 ballgame.
The Red Storm answered with two more runs in the third after Sean O'Hare got things started with a leadoff double inside the first base bag. Zach Lauricella then walked and Roland reached on an infield single to load the bases before Breshears walked to force in a run. Caruso followed with an RBI groundout and St. John's led 5-1.
LIU added a pair of runs in the fourth against the St. John's bullpen. Needham greeted Alex Katz with a leadoff single before Garcia lined an RBI double into center, but was thrown out at third on the play. Tito Marrero then walked before Brown doubled off the wall in right and Tommy Jakubowski walked to load the bases with one out. The Blackbirds made it 5-3 with an RBI fielder's choice before Katz ended the inning with a strikeout.
A leadoff double by Untereiner set the table for two LIU runs in the fourth against Rosati. After a John Ziznewski infield single gave the Blackbirds runners on the corners, Needham lifted a sacrifice fly into deep center. Following a balk and a wild pitch, Garcia tied the game at 5-5 with a sacrifice fly into right field.
St. John's retook the lead for good, 7-5, with a pair of two-out runs in the sixth. After Lauricella was plunked, Roland singled and Caruso walked with one out to load the bases. LIU went to the bullpen and Kelly promptly greeted reliever Evan Zerff with a two-out, two-run double inside the left field line.
A one-out double from Danny Bethea set the table for another St. John's run in the seventh. After a Roland single gave the Red Storm runners on the corners, Roland stole second and Bethea broke for home and scored on the delayed double steal to make it an 8-5 ballgame.
After Anthony Cervone struck out the side in a scoreless eighth, the Reds Storm added an insurance run in the ninth. Pinch hitter Jamal Clarke singled with one out and stole second before Lauricella made it 9-5 with an RBI double.
LIU threatened in the ninth as Untereiner doubled off of Thomas Hackimer to lead off the frame and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Hackimer responded with a strikeout before Needham made it 9-6 with an RBI groundout. After Garcia singled up the middle, St. John's went to the bullpen and Joey Graziano closed out the game for his second save.
St. John's opens BIG EAST play this weekend with a three-game series against Pittsburgh at Kaiser Stadium. The series opens with a 3 p.m. first pitch on March 22 on ESPN3.