BIG EAST CHAMPIONS: St. John's Earns Share Of Regular Season Title; Edged By Seton Hall, 5-4, In 11 Innings|
May 19, 2012
QUEENS, N.Y. - St. John's rallied back from an early 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning, but was defeated by Seton Hall, 5-4, in 11 innings and earned a share of the 2012 BIG EAST regular season crown. The regular season title is the seventh for St. John's (2012, 2008, 2007, 2005, 1992, 1991 & 1987) and fourth with head coach Ed Blankmeyer at the helm. Matt Wessinger finished 3-for-3 with three stolen bases to lead St. John's (33-21, 18-9), while Kyle Richardson was 2-for-6 and Jeremy Baltz was 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI. Kevin Kilpatrick (2-2) took the loss after allowing one run in 1.1 innings of work, while Kyle Hansen worked 6.0 innings of three-run ball for a no-decision. Giuseppe Papaccio finished 2-for-6 with two RBI for Seton Hall (33-22, 17-10), while reliever Mike Genovese (2-0) tossed 4.2 scoreless innings for the win.
Seton Hall took advantage of a leadoff single by Zack Granite to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. After advancing to second on a balk, Granite took third on a comebacker to Hansen. Papaccio then lined an RBI single into left field, but was thrown out at second to end the inning.
The Pirates put together a two-out rally to add a pair of runs in the third and go up 3-0. Following a one-out walk to Granite, a two-out single by Will Walsh set up runners on the corners. Papaccio added an RBI infield single before Sal Annunziata was plunked to load the bases. A bases loaded walk to Scott Kalamar forced in a run and the Pirates led 3-0.
A leadoff Wessinger double helped St. John's get on the board with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Wessinger then stole third before scoring on a Frank Schwindel triple to left field. Baltz added a sacrifice fly and the Red Storm pulled to within 3-2.
Hansen worked a 1-2-3 frame in the top of the fifth and St. John's used a two-out rally of its own to add a run and tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the inning. Richardson set the table with a two-out single through the left side before scoring on a Jimmy Brennan triple into the right field corner.
Seton Hall went to the bullpen in the sixth and St. John's promptly took its first lead of the game as Baltz greeted reliever Brian Gilbert with a solo home run to leadoff the inning and put the Red Storm up 4-3.
A leadoff single in the top of the seventh chased Hansen as Stephen Rivera entered and retired the next three batters, including back-to-back strikeouts to end the frame.
St. John's threatened in the seventh, but Seton Hall turned to the bullpen to escape without allowing a run. After a one-out Wessinger single, the Pirates brought in Genovese. Wessinger stole second and took third on a balk, but a pair of groundouts ended the inning.
The Pirates, however, used a one-out Kalamar double to tie the game at 4-4 in the eighth. Following a two-out walk, Michael Betz lined an RBI single up the middle to tie the game.
After a 1-2-3 ninth by Rivera, St. John's threatened again in the bottom of the frame as Richardson led off with a single before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Wessinger was then intentionally walked, but a shallow flyout and a groundout ended the inning and sent the game into extra frames.
A leadoff single chased Rivera in the 10th as Kilpatrick took the mound and retired the next three batters, but Genovese answered with a 1-2-3 inning of his own.
Seton Hall, however, used a leadoff double by Betz to set up a run in the 11th. After Betz advanced to third on a balk, Granite lifted a sacrifice fly into right field to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead.
Genovese worked another 1-2-3 inning in the 11th to close out the game.