May 5, 2012
QUEENS, N.Y. - Sean Hagan allowed one unearned run in 7.0 innings of work as St. John's used a three-run first inning to jump out to an early lead and defeat USF, 6-2, to even the series at one game apiece. Jeremy Baltz was 3-for-4 with an RBI to lead St. John's (30-17, 15-5), while Kyle Richardson, Frank Schwindel and Sean O'Hare had two hits each. Hagan (6-2) surrendered just four hits, while striking out two to earn the win. Alex Mendez was 2-for-5 for USF (20-17, 13-7), while Joey Lovecchio (7-3) took the loss after allowing six runs, four earned, in 5.2 innings.
After Hagan tossed a quick 1-2-3 top of the first, the St. John's offense went to work with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Lovecchio retired the leadoff man before striking out Martin Kelly with a pitch in the dirt that allowed Kelly to reach first base. A groundout moved Kelly to third before Schwindel reached on an infield single up the middle, but an errant throw allowed Kelly to score. Baltz then ripped an RBI double off the wall in left field before O'Hare followed with an RBI single and the Red Storm led 3-0.
Hagan went on to retire the first eight batters of the game before allowing a two-out single in the third.
The Bulls, however, took advantage of a pair of errors to get on the board with an unearned run in the fourth. Luis Llerena reached on an error to lead off the inning before James Ramsay reached base on a fielder's choice after his swinging bunt was fielded by catcher Danny Bethea, who threw to second in an unsuccessful attempt to get the lead runner. Llerena took third as Ramsay was caught stealing before a Todd Brazeal RBI groundout made it a 3-1 game.
The Red Storm loaded the bases with no outs and took advantage of two errors to add three runs in the sixth and take a 6-1 lead. Schwindel singled up the middle to lead off the frame before Baltz singled to left and a walk to O'Hare loaded the bases. Lovecchio retired the next two batters before a wild pitch allowed Schwindel to score and set up runners on second and third. Another run scored as Bret Dennis reached on an error and USF went to the bullpen. Adrian Puig took the mound for the Bulls and induced an infield fly from Richardson, but it was dropped and another run scored as St. John's went up 6-1.
Hagan was lifted after adding scoreless frames in the fifth, sixth and seventh and Stephen Rivera took the mound for a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
The Bulls loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth and plated a run on a double play ball for the final 6-2 margin.
St. John's concludes its series against USF with a noon rubber game on May 6. A pregame ceremony will be held at 11:45 a.m. as St. John's unveils the Howie Gershberg Bullpen. The pitching coach from 1974-86, Gershberg helped lead St. John's to 10 NCAA Tournament berths, including a pair of College World Series appearances, and developed the likes of future major leaguers John Franco and Frank Viola.