May 14, 2010
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Freshman Jeremy Baltz homered four times, added seven RBI and broke single season records in both home runs and RBI as St. John's defeated No. 8 Louisville, 8-5. Baltz was 4-for-5 in the game with a trio of two-run home runs and one solo shot to lead St. John's (34-14, 15-7). Paul Karmas was 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Ryan Cole (2-0) tossed 1.1 innings to earn the win. Stewart Ijames had a home run and two RBI to pace Louisville (40-10, 16-6).
"It feels great to hit four home runs in a game, but I'm more excited that we won," said Baltz. "I was seeing the ball really well and felt the best I've felt in awhile at the plate."
"In my years of coaching, I have never seen a player hit four home runs," said head coach Ed Blankmeyer. "I've seen plenty of three homer games, but never four. He had a great night and squared up the ball on every swing."
After being set down in order in the first inning, St. John's sent six men to plate and took a 1-0 lead in the second. Baltz put the Red Storm on the board as he blasted a solo home run to deep center field on the first pitch of his at-bat. Matt Wessinger followed with a one-out double before Karmas singled and Sean O'Hare was plunked to load the bases. Thomas Royse got out of the jam, however, inducing an inning-ending double play.
Louisville came right back to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the frame as Ijames connected for a solo home run to right center field.
Baltz homered for the second time in as many at-bats to help St. John's retake the lead, 3-1, in the third. Jimmy Brennan walked to open the frame before Jimmy Parque reached on a fielder's choice that erased Brennan, but an error allowed Parque to reach second base. Joe Panik followed with a single to center field and moved to second as Parque was thrown out at the plate. Baltz then launched the second pitch of his at-bat to deep center field for a two-run home run.
The Cardinals, though, answered again with a run in the bottom of third. After a one-out single by Andrew Clark, Phil Wunderlich followed with a two-out RBI double.
The score remained 3-2 until the bottom of the seventh inning when the Cardinals added two runs to retake the lead. After plunking Arnold to open the frame, Red Storm starter Kyle Hansen was lifted in favor of Kevin Kilpatrick. A one-out single by Clark set up runners on the corners before Wright tied the game with an RBI single up the middle. Ijames added a two-out RB single up the middle as Louisville took a 4-3 lead and chased Kilpatrick from the game. Cole entered and ended the inning with a strikeout.
Baltz homered for the third time to pace a three-run eighth that gave the Red Storm a 6-4 lead. Panik singled to lead off the inning and Louisville brought in Gabriel Shaw (4-2) from the bullpen. Baltz then greeted Shaw with a towering two-run home run to left field. Wessinger followed with a one-out single before Karmas added an RBI double.
Once again the Cardinals answered with a run in the bottom of the eighth. After Zak Wasserman drew a lead off walk, Jarred Clarkson entered as a pinch runner and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a groundout pushed Clarkson to third, Jeff Arnold followed with an RBI groundout as Louisville trailed, 6-5.
Baltz gave St. John's an 8-5 lead with his fourth home run of the game in the ninth inning. After quickly retiring the first two batters, Dean Kiekhefer plunked Panik. Baltz then smashed a two-run home run to deep right center field.
Daniel Burawa entered and worked a scoreless ninth inning for his eighth save.
St. John's returns to action against Louisville at 4 p.m. on May 15.
Notes: Baltz now has 18 home runs and 68 RBI on the year, both new STJ single season school-records ... Mike Dzurilla (1999) and Chris Fallon (2000) held the old record in home runs with 16 ... Dzruilla held the old record in RBI with 65 (1999) ... the game marked the first-career four-hit game for Baltz.