May 12, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Sean Hagan allowed just two runs in a complete game effort and Jeremy Baltz took sole ownership as the program's all-time home run king with a solo blast as St. John's defeated No. 22 Louisville, 6-2 in game two of a three-game set. Baltz, who had been tied for the all-time lead in home runs, finished 4-for-5 with three runs scored, while Danny Bethea was 2-for-3 with three RBI to lead St. John's (32-18, 17-6). Hagan (7-2) had six strikeouts and scattered five hits to register his second complete game of the season. Nick Ratajczak was 2-for-4 for Louisville (34-17, 15-8), while starter Jeff Thompson (9-2) took the loss after allowing three runs in 4.1 innings of work.
St. John's used the long ball to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning as Baltz launched a one-out solo home run to left field.
The Red Storm used back-to-back singles to open the fourth frame to add a pair of runs and take a 3-0 lead. After Frank Schwindel grounded a single off the pitcher to leadoff the inning, Baltz lined a single into center. Sean O'Hare then set up runners on second and third with a sacrifice bunt before Zach Lauricella lifted a sacrifice fly into right field. Bethea followed with a two-out RBI single into right and St. John's led 3-0.
Hagan, meanwhile, rolled three groundouts in a 1-2-3 third inning, eventually retiring five-straight batters before plunking Ty Young with one out in the fourth. Hagan then walked Cole Strugeon to give the Cardinals runners on first and second before ending the inning with a strikeout and a lineout.
St. John's took advantage of two errors in the sixth to plate three runs and go up 6-0. Baltz reached on an error to open the frame before O'Hare walked to set up runners on first and second with no outs. Lauricella then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw was wide of the first base bag. Baltz scored on the play as O'Hare took third and Lauricella moved to second and Louisville went back to the bullpen. Bethea promptly greeted Matt Koch with a two-run single up the middle to give the Red Storm a 6-0 advantage. Bret Dennis then beat out a sacrifice bunt attempt for an infield single, but Koch retired the next three batters.
After Hagan added a 1-2-3 fifth inning, Louisville got on the board with two runs in the sixth. Ratajczak led off the frame with a single before a Zach Lucas ground-rule double set up runners on second and third with no outs. Young followed with an RBI single into center before Sturgeon pulled the Cardinals to within 6-2 with an RBI groundout.
Hagan added 1-2-3 innings in both the seventh and eighth innings. The lefty took the mound once again in the ninth and worked another 1-2-3 frame, retiring the final 12 batters of the game for the complete game effort.
St. John's concludes its series against Louisville on May 13 with a noon rubber game. First pitch has been moved up to noon due to the expectation for inclement weather later in the day.