May 17, 2014
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. - St. John's overcame a three-run fourth-inning deficit to defeat Seton Hall, 4-3, in game one of a doubleheader, but could not overcome a four-run first-inning deficit in game two and lost, 5-4, to conclude the regular season.
Robbie Knightes went 3-for-3 with an RBI and Zach Lauricella finished 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead St. John's (35-18, 13-5) in the seven-inning game one victory. Ryan McCormick (7-1) allowed three runs, two earned, in 5.0 innings of work for the victory. Zack Weigel was 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored for Seton Hall (38-13, 11-7). Anthony Pacillo (4-1) took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, in 5.0 innings.
Knightes finished 3-for-4 with an RBI in game two to wrap up a combined 6-of-7 day at the plate. Troy Dixon, Robert Wayman and Lauricella added two hits apiece. Matt Hennie allowed just one unearned run in a career-high 6.0 innings of work for a no-decision in relief of starter Chris Kalica (6-3), who surrendered four runs, three earned, in 0.2 innings. Sal Annunziata and John Beaubien each went 2-for-4 with two RBI for the Pirates, while Luke Cahill (10-1) struck out six and allowed just two runs in 6.0 innings for the win.
St. John's loaded the bases with two outs in the second of game one, but stranded all three runners. Bret Dennis started things with a sharp one-out single before Lauricella reached on a two-out infield single off the pitcher. Knightes then loaded the bases with an infield single to third, but Pacillo escaped the jam with a foul pop up near home plate.
Seton Hall had one-out singles in both the second and third frames, but McCormick worked out of the second with a caught stealing and used a lineout double play to end the third.
The Pirates, however, took a 3-0 advantage in the fourth after loading the bases with no outs. Weigel led off with a double inside the left field line before Kyle Grimm was plunked and Annunziata loaded the bases with an infield single deep in the hole at short. D.J. Ruhlman then drew a walk to force in a run before Joe Poduslenko followed with a grounder to short, but the force attempt at second resulted in an errant throw and two runs came around to score.
St. John's answered with a run in the top of the fifth to make it a 3-1 ballgame. Knightes set the table with a one-out single up the middle before Tyler Sanchez doubled into right center to set up runners on second and third with one out. Alex Caruso then lifted a sacrifice fly into center to put the Red Storm on the board, but Pacillo ended the inning with a groundout.
The Red Storm then faced four different Pirate pitchers and took the lead with a three-run sixth. Wayman led off with a single into left field before Matt Harris singled to give the Red Storm a pair of baserunners. Dennis then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached safely on errant throw to load the bases with no outs and send Seton Hall to the bullpen. Joe DiBenedetto entered and struck out the only batter he faced before giving way to reliever Ryan Testani. Lauricella and Knightes promptly tied the game and forced another pitching change with back-to-back RBI singles. Connor Krauss then took the mound and plunked Sanchez to force in a run and make it a 4-3 ballgame before Anthony Elia ended the inning with a 4-6-3 double play.
Seton Hall threatened against Thomas Hackimer in the bottom of the sixth, but stranded a runner at third. Hackimer retired the leadoff man before Ruhlman reached on an infield single, but advanced to second on an errant throw. Ruhlman then took third on a groundout before Hackimer fielded a slow chopper for the final out.
Joe Kuzia came on for the ninth and promptly retired the first two batters before Derek Jenkins extended the inning with a single through the right side. A wild pitch moved Jenkins to second before Weigel singled into left field to set up runners on the corners. Kuzia, however, struck out Grimm to end the game and notch his 13th save of the season.
Seton Hall sent eight men to plate and chased Kalica as part of four-run first frame in the second game. Jenkins was plunked to lead off the inning and stole second before Weigel reached on an error. After Grimm walked to load the bases, Anunziata lined a two-run single into right center before Beaubien made it 4-0 with a two-run double to the wall in left. Kalica was lifted with two outs in favor of Hennie, who retired his first batter to end the inning.
St. John's got a run back in the third courtesy of a two-out double. Michael Donadio set the table with a one-out single and stole second before Knightes lined a two-out RBI double into right center to cut the deficit to 4-1.
A three-base error helped the Pirates get the run back in the bottom of the second. Chris Chiaradio led off the inning with a dribbler in front of the plate, but advanced all the way to third on an errant throw up the first base line. Wiegel later gave Seton Hall a 5-1 lead with an RBI groundout.
The Red Storm then pulled to within three runs with a run in the fifth. Lauricella and Knightes led off the inning with back-to-back singles before a Sanchez sacrifice bunt gave the Red Storm runners on second and third. Caruso then laid down a safety squeeze bunt to make it a 5-2 ballgame.
St. John's tried to put together a two-out rally in the sixth, but stranded runners on second and third. Dixon led off with a single, but was erased on a double play. After Harris extended the inning with a walk, Dennis singled before a wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. Cahill, however, induced a flyout to keep the Red Storm off the board.
St. John's took advantage of an error to plate another run in the seventh, but also left the bases loaded. Lauricella reached on an error to lead off the inning before Knightes singled up the middle to give the Red Storm runners on the corners with no outs. Sanchez then grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, but Lauricella scored from third to make it 5-3. Caruso extended the inning with a single into center before Dixon singled up the middle and Wayman loaded the bases with a single into the hole at short. DiBenedetto, however, got out of the inning with a groundout.
The Red Storm chipped away again with a run in the eighth. A one-out walk to Donadio set the table before Lauricella made it 5-4 with an RBI double to the gap in right center, but was thrown out trying to advance to third after the initial throw home got past the catcher.
St. John's put the leadoff man on in the ninth, but stranded the tying run at third. Sanchez led off the inning with a single before pinch runner Ty Blankmeyer advanced to second on a Caruso sacrifice bunt. Blankmeyer moved to third on a groundout to second, but DiBenedetto induced a groundout to end the game.
St. John's returns to action and opens BIG EAST Championship play at MCU Park against Seton Hall at 7 p.m. on May 22.