May 12, 2013
QUEENS, N.Y. - Lefties Sean Hagan and Ryan Horstman combined on a four-hitter as St. John's clinched a series win against Notre Dame with a split on the final day of the series. St. John's (22-31, 9-12) posted a 2-1 victory against Notre Dame (29-21, 9-12) in the conclusion of yesterday's halted game before the Fighting Irish used a seven-run ninth to stave off a sweep and defeat the Red Storm by a 16-7 margin in the finale.
St. John's also clinched a berth into the eight-team BIG EAST Tournament with the series win and other conference results from the weekend.
Horstman (6-5) worked three 1-2-3 innings and allowed just one run in 5.0 innings of work to earn the win in relief of Hagan, who had tossed 4.0 scoreless innings on Saturday before play was halted. Zach Lauricella and Frank Schwindel each went 2-for-4 with an RBI to lead St. John's in the victory. Trey Mancini went 2-for-4 with an RBI to pace Notre Dame. Nick McCarty (4-4) took the loss after allowing two runs in 1.0 inning of work in relief of Pat Connaughton, who worked 4.0 shutout frames on Saturday.
Schwindel went 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI in the second game for the Red Storm, while Jimmy Brennan finished 1-for-4 with two RBI. Ryan McCormick (3-6) allowed three runs in 3.1 innings of work in a losing effort. Eric Jagielo and Lane Richards had three RBI apiece for the Fighting Irish, while Sean Fitzgerald (5-3) earned the win after allowing two runs in 5.0 innings of work.
Notre Dame threatened in the first inning of the halted game as Frank DeSico reached on an error before Jagielo drew a two-out walk, but Hagan rolled a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
St. John's also threatened in the bottom of the first inning as Martin Kelly reached on catcher's interference with one out before Lauricella doubled to give the Red Storm runners on second and third. Connaughton, however, escaped with a strikeout and a groundout.
After a 1-2-3 second inning, Hagan worked around a one-out single in the third before adding a 1-2-3 fourth frame.
The teams then cleared the field because of lightning in between innings. Torrential rains followed and the game was halted.
Horstman took the mound for St. John's when the game resumed this morning and collected two strikeouts as part of a quick 1-2-3 inning.
St. John's followed with a two-run bottom of the fifth against McCarty. After Bret Dennis drew a leadoff walk, Pat Talbut was plunked and a Kelly sacrifice bunt gave the Red Storm runners on second and third. Lauricella then grounded an RBI single through the left side before Schwindel added an RBI single up the middle and St. John's took a 2-0 lead.
Horstman worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning and eventually retired the first seven batters he faced before Mancini made it a 2-1 ballgame with a solo home run to right center.
Horstman added a 1-2-3 eighth frame and set down the first two batters in the ninth to retire seven-straight before the Fighting Irish looked to put together a two-out rally. Jagielo kept Notre Dame alive with a two-out single before Mancini singled through the right side to set up runners on corners. Horstman, however, ended the game with a strikeout to secure the win.
St. John's got on the board first in the second game as well as Lombardo started a two-out rally in the second inning with a double into the gap in left center. Brennan followed with an RBI single into right center as the Red Storm took a 1-0 lead.
McCormick, meanwhile, worked three scoreless frames before being chased by Notre Dame as part of a three-run fourth inning. A leadoff walk to Jagielo set the table before Mancini singled and a Zak Kutsulis RBI single knotted the score. Following a Charlie Markson sacrifice fly, Kutsulis advanced to second on a wild pitch and St. John's went to the bullpen for Alex Katz. A groundout moved Kutsulis to third before Richards put the Fighting Irish up 3-1 with an RBI single.
The Red Storm used the long ball to get a run back in the bottom of the fourth as Schwindel led off the inning by launching a home run to left field to make it a 3-2 ballgame.
Notre Dame answered right back, however, with three more runs in the fifth. After a Mac Hudgins leadoff single and an infield pop up, St. John's went to the bullpen. Joey Graziano entered and retired the first batter he faced before issuing an intentional walk to Kutsulis. Markson then lined an RBI single into left field before Notre Dame added a run on a delayed double steal. Richards later added an RBI double and the Fighting Irish led 6-2.
An RBI triple and a pair of RBI doubles led to anther three-run frame in the seventh as the Fighting Irish took a 9-2 lead.
St. John's, however, made things interesting with a three-run eighth inning. Jamal Clarke led off with a double before Lauricella walked and Schwindel lined an RBI single into center. Pinch hitter Dan Roland then reached on error to load the bases before Brennan lifted a sacrifice fly into left field. After Sean O'Hare walked to reload the bases, Ty Blankmeyer was plunked to force in a run and pull St. John's to within 9-5.
The Fighting Irish countered with seven runs in the ninth to take a commanding 16-5 lead.
The Red Storm wasn't done either, though, and added two runs in the bottom of the ninth. Lauricella set the table with a leadoff single before Schwindel doubled to left center. Bethea followed with a sacrifice fly and Roland added an RBI single for the final 16-7 margin.
St. John's concludes regular season play with a three-game series at Seton Hall. Game one is slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch on May 16.