Stephen Rivera retired the first seven batters he faced in 3.0 innings of one-run ball.
March 23, 2012
PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. -
Sean O'Hare had a go-ahead two-run double and Matt Wessinger had a three-run home run for the second-straight game as St. John's won its eighth-straight game and opened BIG EAST play with an 8-4 triumph against Villanova. Wessinger finished 2-for-5 with three RBI and Jeremy Baltz was 2-for-5 with an RBI to lead St. John's (12-9, 1-0), while Martin Kelly and Danny Bethea added two hits each. Matt Carasiti (2-2) scattered 10 hits in 5.2 innings, striking out six and allowing three runs to earn the win. John Cialone was 3-for-3 with a double to pace Villanova (13-10, 0-1), while Pat Young (3-3) took the loss after allowing five runs, three earned, in 7.0 innings.
Villanova used back-to-back singles to open up the first inning and take a 1-0 lead. After Marlon Calbi led off with a single up the middle and stole second, Kevin Wager lofted an RBI single into center field to put the Wildcats on the board.
The Wildcats had runners on first third with no outs in the third, but Carasiti limited the damage and held Villanova to just one run. A hit batsman and a single set up the first and third situation before Matt Fleishman beat out a double play for an RBI fielder's choice. Carasiti then induced a foul pop up and ended the inning with a strikeout.
St. John's answered with a pair of runs in the fourth after Wessinger set the table with an infield single. Wessinger then stole second before Baltz lined a single into right field to set up runners on the corners. A wild pitch put the Red Storm on the board as Wessinger scored and Baltz moved all the way to third before O'Hare took a one-out walk to again set up runners on the corners. Eric Peterson followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2-2.
Villanova puts its first two runners on base for the third time in the fourth inning and retook the lead, 3-2. A walk led off the inning before a single and fielder's choice set up runners on the corners with one out. Jordan Zech followed with an RBI bunt single up the first baseline before Carasiti retired the next two batters to end the frame.
A leadoff Kelly single opened up a three-run fifth as St. John's retook the lead. After advancing to second on a groundout, Kelly took third on a wild pitch before Baltz chopped an RBI single up the middle to tie the game. Baltz took second on a wild pitch before Zach Lauricella reached on an error to set up runners on the corners. O'Hare followed by ripping the first pitch of his at-bat just inside the first baseline for a two-run double that put the Red Storm up 5-3.
Villanova loaded the bases in the sixth and chased Carasiti, but was kept off the board. After a double and a single set up runners on the corners with no outs, Carasiti rebounded with a strikeout and a groundout. A walk loaded the bases, however, and St. John's went to the bullpen. Stephen Rivera entered and induced an infield popup to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
Rivera stayed on and had two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 seventh before working a 1-2-3 eighth.
St. John's used the long ball to add three insurance runs in the ninth. Kelly doubled to lead off the frame before Pat Talbut squared and reached on a bunt single to set up runners on the corners. Wessinger then blasted a three-run home run to left field to put the Red Storm up 8-3.
After retiring the first seven batters he faced, Rivera allowed a leadoff double to Calbi in the ninth as Villanova made it an 8-4 game. Following a one-out walk, a wild pitch set up runners on second and third before Connor Jones plated a run with an RBI single and St. John's went to the bullpen. Kevin Kilpatrick entered with runners on the corners and promptly retired the first batter he faced to notch his first save of the season.
St. John's returns to action and concludes its series at Villanova with a 12:15 p.m. doubleheader on March 24.