April 20, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - Sean Hagan tossed 6.0 innings of two-run ball and Danny Bethea and Bret Dennis connected for back-to-back solo home runs in the fourth inning as St. John's defeated No. 8 Louisville, 4-3. Bethea finished 1-for-3 and Dennis was 1-for-1 for St. John's (17-23, 6-8), which made the most of just four hits on the day. Pat Talbut also added a two-run double as part of a 1-for-3 day at the plate. Hagan (3-5) allowed 11 hits, but picked off three runners and induced a pair of double plays to earn his second-straight win. Ty Young was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Adam Engel was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for Louisville (30-8, 8-3). Jeff Thompson (6-1) allowed four runs in 5.2 innings of work in a losing effort.
The Cardinals had four singles in the first inning, but plated just one run as two outs were made on the basepaths. Following back-to-back singles by Engel and Nick Ratajczak to open the frame, Young made it 1-0 with an RBI single into left and took second as Ratajczak was thrown out heading to third. Young was then picked off at second before Coco Johnson singled into left, but a groundout ended the inning.
Louisville loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Hagan again limited the damage to just one run. Ratajczak was plunked to open the inning before Young singled and Johnson was plunked to load the bases. Hagan then induced a 6-4-3 double play ball as the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead before another groundout ended the inning.
St. John's then tied the game with a two-run third frame. Thompson retired the first batter before Dustin Breshears singled up the middle and Martin Kelly was plunked to give the Red Storm runners on first and second with one out. Talbut then lifted a two-run double to the wall in left center to even the score at 2-2 before Thompson got out of the inning by retiring the next two batters.
The Red Storm took the lead with a pair of runs in the fourth on back-to-back home runs. Bethea led off the inning with a solo home run to center field before Dennis stepped to the plate and made it back-to-back home runs with another blast to center field.
Hagan recorded his third pickoff as part of a scoreless fifth and used a double play to erase a leadoff walk in a scoreless sixth to end his day.
Louisville, however, took advantage of four walks issued by the St. John's bullpen to plate a run in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. Ryan McCormick took the mound to start the inning, but was lifted after walking the first two batters he faced. Matt Clancy then entered and both runners advanced on a wild pitch before a Young RBI groundout made it 4-3. Clancy then got an infield pop up before back-to-back walks loaded the base, but a fly out ended the inning.
The Cardinals threatened again in the eighth, but were held at bay. Clancy needed just two pitches to retire the first two batters before a single, a hit batsman and a walk loaded the bases and sent St. John's to the bullpen. Anthony Rosati entered and induced a fly out to deep left field to end the inning and preserve the lead.
Looking to nail down the save, Thomas Hackimer entered in the ninth and was greeted by a leadoff single from Cole Sturgeon. After pinch hitter Mike White lifted a fly out to center, pinch hitter Matt Helms blooped a single just inside the left field line. Hackimer then struck out Danny Rosenbaum before Helms was thrown out at second on the back end of a double steal attempt to end the game.
St. John's concludes its series against No. 8 Louisville on April 21 with a noon rubber game that will air on ESPN3.