SERIES WIN: Four-Run Eighth Propels St. John's Past No. 8 Louisville, 6-5|
April 21, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - A two-out, two-run single by Martin Kelly capped a four-run eighth inning rally as St. John's erased a 5-2 deficit and defeated No. 8 Louisville, 6-5, to take the series. Kelly finished 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Pat Talbut went 1-for-5 with two RBI to lead St. John's (18-23, 7-8). Sean O'Hare and Jimmy Brennan each added an RBI as part of the eighth inning rally. Joey Graziano (3-0) allowed one run in 2.1 innings of relief for the win, while Ryan Horstman settled for a no-decision after allowing four runs, two earned, in 6.0 innings of work. Sutton Whiting went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Jeff Gardner had a solo home run to pace Louisville (30-9, 8-4). Starter Anthony Kidston allowed two unearned runs in 7.0 innings of work in a no-decision, while Nick Burdi (2-2) allowed one run in 1.0 inning of relief to take the loss.
Louisville opened the second inning with back-to-back singles, but Horstman limited the damage to just one run. Cole Sturgeon led off with a single before a Kyle Gibson single set up runners on the corners. Horstman then retired the next batter before Whiting put the Cardinals on the board with an RBI bunt single on a squeeze play. A two-out walk loaded the bases, but Horstman escaped with a strikeout.
Kidston, meanwhile, retired the first eight batters he faced before Dustin Breshears reached on an error to start a two-out rally in the third. Kelly then reached on a second-straight error and stole second before Talbut grounded a two-run single up the middle to put the Red Storm up by a 2-1 score.
The Cardinals, however, took advantage of three Red Storm errors to plate three runs in the sixth. A walk to Sturgeon led off the inning before Gibson laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached safely as the throw to first base was wide. After a passed ball advanced both runners, Zak Wasserman lined an RBI single into right field to tie the game. Whiting then reached on an RBI fielder's choice, but took second as the return throw went out-of-play. Whiting then stole third base, but scored on an errant throw to give Louisville a 4-2 lead.
Louisville used the long ball to extend its lead in the seventh inning against the St. John's bullpen. Graziano took the mound in the seventh and quickly retired the first two batters he faced before Gardner made it a 5-2 game with a pinch hit solo home run to right field.
St. John's threatened with two outs in the bottom of the seventh as Breshears and Kelly put together back-to-back singles, but Kidston ended the inning with a fly out.
Graziano induced three infield pop ups as part of a quick 1-2-3 eighth inning to keep it a three-run game.
St. John's then loaded the bases with no outs to set the table for a four-run eighth inning against three Louisville relievers. Jared Ruxer took the hill to start the inning, but issued a walk to Zach Lauricella and was lifted. Frank Schwindel then greeted Sturgeon with a single into center field before a walk to Danny Bethea loaded the bases and sent Louisville to the bullpen again. Burdi entered the game and got a strikeout before O'Hare lifted a sacrifice fly into right field to make it a 5-3 ballgame. Brennan then lined an RBI single into left center before pinch hitter Kyle Lombardo drew a walk to reload the bases. Kelly followed with a two-run single up the middle as St. John's took a 6-5 lead before a fly out ended the inning.
Louisville threatened in the ninth, but was kept off the board. Adam Engel led off the inning with a double before Graziano got a fly out and the Red Storm went to the bullpen. Thomas Hackimer entered and plunked Coco Johnson and Alex Chittenden on consecutive pitches and was lifted. Alex Katz then took the mound and Louisville was unsuccessful on a suicide squeeze attempt as Engel was hung up between third and home and was retired. Katz then induced a game-ending groundout to secure the win and record his first-career save.
St. John's returns to action with a midweek game at Dodd Stadium against Boston College at 5 p.m. on April 24.