May 17, 2013
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - Head coach Ed Blankmeyer, already the winningest coach in the history of BIG EAST play, added another coaching milestone as the skipper recorded career-win No. 612 to pass Joe Russo and become the winningest coach in St. John's baseball history with a 4-3 win against No. 24 Seton Hall.
"I have been in this game for awhile and have been fortunate enough to win some games along the way, but to be at the top of the list at a program with the coaching legacy and winning tradition of St. John's is truly special," Blankmeyer said. "All of the credit goes to my coaching staff and especially to my players because you don't win that many ballgames without a great staff and great players, and I have had both."
Zach Lauricella finished 3-for-4 to lead St. John's (23-31, 10-12), while Danny Bethea was 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Sean Hagan (4-6) allowed one unearned run and had three strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work to earn the win. Zack Granite was 3-for-5 with an RBI to lead Seton Hall (34-17, 16-6), which had its winning streak snapped at 13 games. Jon Prosinski (7-3) allowed four runs, three earned, in 7.1 innings of work in a losing effort.
St. John's jumped on Prosinski in the first inning, clubbing three doubles as part of a three-run frame. Pat Talbut got things started with a one-out double into the right field corner before a Lauricella single through the right side gave the Red Storm runners on first and third. Frank Schwindel then ripped an RBI double inside the third base bag to put St. John's on the board before Sean O'Hare followed with an RBI groundout. Bethea capped the inning with an RBI double into right field as St. John's took a 3-0 lead.
Seton Hall took advantage of a two-out error to get a run back in the bottom of the frame. Granite led off with a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt before a two-out walk to Sal Annunziata gave the Pirates runners on first and second. Mike Genovese then reached on a throwing error as a run came home to make it a 3-1 ballgame.
The Pirates threatened in the third by loading the bases with one out, but Hagan rallied to escape the jam unscathed. Genovese singled up the middle with one out before Hagan plunked back-to-back batters to load the bases. The lefty, however, ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
A leadoff walk to Bethea set the table in the fourth as the Red Storm added a run. After Bethea advanced to second on a Kyle Lombardo sacrifice bunt, Jimmy Brennan reached on an error as Bethea came around from second to score and give St. John's a 4-1 lead.
Hagan worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning to end his outing before Seton Hall added a run in the seventh against reliever Joey Christopher. Giuseppe Papaccio led off the frame with a single up the middle and promptly advanced to second on a wild pitch. Christopher then induced a groundout to short to keep Papaccio at second, but a groundout to third moved to Papaccio to third with two outs. Genovese then reached on an RBI infield single as Seton Hall pulled to within 4-2 before Christopher ended the inning with a strikeout.
St. John's went to the bullpen again in the eighth and the Pirates added another run to make it a 4-3 ballgame. Joey Graziano started the inning and issued a leadoff walk to pinch hitter Ryan Sullivan before a sacrifice bunt gave Seton Hall a runner at second with one out. Granite then lined an RBI single into left field before Graziano struck out Zack Weigel as Granite stole second. St. John's then brought in Thomas Hackimer, who walked the first batter he faced before getting a groundout to end the inning.
The Red Storm tried to add an insurance run in the ninth, but stranded a pair of baserunners. Lombardo drew a one-out walk before Bret Dennis was plunked with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning and kept it a 4-3 ballgame.
Seton Hall had one more threat in them, however. Hackimer plunked Genovese to lead off the ninth inning, but pinch runner Derek Jenkins was caught stealing. St. John's then went to the bullpen and Alex Katz walked the first batter he faced before responding with a strikeout. Katz was lifted after walking the next batter, but Matt Hennie induced a fly out to end the game and record his first-career save.
St. John's continues its series against Seton Hall with a 2 p.m. game on May 17.