April 13, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. - A Bret Dennis grand slam and a Matt Harris two-run blast highlighted a six-run fourth inning as St. John's held on to defeat Butler, 9-7, and complete a BIG EAST sweep. Dennis finished 2-for-5 with a career-high five RBI and Harris went 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead St. John's (20-13, 4-2), while Alex Caruso went 3-for-4 with a double, a triple and three runs scored. Chris Kalica (5-1) allowed five runs, one earned, in 5.1 innings of work for the win. Ryan Wojciechowski was 2-for-4 with three RBI and Quincy Quintero finished 2-for-4 with three runs to pace Butler (14-20, 2-4). Eric Stout (3-6) was saddled with the loss after surrendering eight runs, six earned, in 4.0 innings.
After a 1-2-3 top of the first from Kalica, St. John's used a two-out single to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the frame. Caruso doubled into left center to lead off the inning before Harris grounded an RBI single up the third base line to put the Red Storm on the board.
Butler then took advantage of a leadoff double to take the lead with a two-run second inning. A Will Amador double led off the frame before Quintero laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached safely on an error as Amador took third. Austin Miller followed with a squeeze bunt, but Amador got hung up and was retired trying to get back to third. Wojciechowski, however, followed with a two-run double to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
St. John's answered in the third as Caruso lined a one-out triple to the gap in right center to set the table. Dennis followed with an RBI single up the middle as the Red Storm pulled even at 2-2.
A pair of two-out home runs highlighted a six-run rally in the fourth as the Red Storm opened up an 8-2 lead. Robbie Knightes started the two-out rally with a single up the middle before Tyler Sanchez singled through the left side. After Caruso walked to load the bases, Dennis launched a towering grand slam to left field. Robert Wayman reached on an error to extend the inning and Harris followed with a two-run home run to centerfield.
Butler, however, took advantage of an error and four-straight two-out walks to put up a four-spot in the sixth. Amador reached on an error to open the inning, but was retired as Quintero reached on a fielder's choice. Miller followed with a double to left before a Wojciechowski RBI single chased Kalica from the ballgame. Ryan Bartolone greeted reliever Joey Christopher with a sacrifice fly before back-to-back walks to Marco Caponi and Marcos Calderon sent the Red storm back to the bullpen. Joey Graziano took the mound with the bases loaded and forced in a pair of runs with back-to-back walks to Chris Maranto and Michael Fries. With the lead trimmed to 8-6, St. John's made another change and Shawn Heide retired the first batter he faced to end the inning.
The Bulldogs took advantage of another error to add a run in the seventh. Quintero led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Wojciechowski then reached on an error as Quintero scored to pull Butler to within 8-7.
St. John's got the run back in the bottom of the inning after Michael Donadio set the table with a two-out walk. After moving to second on a wild pitch, Donadio swiped third as Zach Lauricella drew a walk. A wild pitch allowed Donadio to score and the Red Storm led 9-7.
Joe Kuzia worked around a two-out double in the eighth and tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to record his sixth save of the season.
St. John's returns to action on April 15 with a 3 p.m. game at Albany.