May 20, 2009
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Junior righty Bruce Kern allowed just two runs to notch his first-career complete game and lead St. John's past Cincinnati, 12-2, in the second round of the BIG EAST Tournament. Greg Hopkins was 5-for-6, tying a BIG EAST Tournament record for hits in a single game, and Tim Morris was 4-for-6 with a two-run home run to lead St. John's (30-21). Kern (5-4) threw just 107 pitches and worked 1-2-3 innings in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. Mike Spina was 2-for-4 with a home run for Cincinnati (29-29).
After a scoreless first inning, St. John's took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. After Morris singled into center to open the frame, Hopkins followed with a slow rolling infield single. Following a fly out, both runners moved up on a groundout before Danny Benedetti sent a two RBI single past the first baseman. When Morris trotted home, he broke the single season record for runs scored with 66.
Spina singled for Cincinnati to open the second before Kiley Jones drew a one-out walk. A balk advanced both runners, but a strikeout and a groundout kept the Bearcats off the board.
St. John's extended the lead to 5-0 in the third. After Brian Kemp drew a lead off walk, Morris followed with a two-out, two-run home run over the fence in right center. Hopkins then singled up the middle before scoring from first on an RBI double by Matt Wessinger that also chased starter Billy Welsh from the game.
Cincinnati got on the board with a run in the third. Zach Collaros led off with a single before moving to second on a wild pitch. After TJ Jones walked, Chris Peters singled into shallow right to load the bases. Lance Durham then grounded into a double play that allowed a run to score, but Kern caught Spina looking to end the inning and the Bearcats trailed 5-1.
The Red Storm went up 8-1 in the fourth. After Benedetti walked and Gino Matias was plunked to open the inning, the Bearcats went to the bullpen again for Brian Sand. Kemp greeted the reliever with an RBI single, but an overthrow to home left St. John's with runners on second and third. Jimmy Parque followed with an RBI groundout before Paul Karmas lifted a sacrifice fly into deep left. A Morris single into right and a Hopkins single up the middle chased Sand from the game, but reliever Jake Geglein ended the inning.
Kemp walked to open the fifth and moved to second when Karmas reached on an error. Hopkins then lined an RBI single into right field to plate Kemp from second base and give St. John's a 9-1 lead.
St. John's added a run in the sixth after Benedetti singled and stole second. Matias then walked before Kemp lined an RBI double into left center to give the Red Storm a 10-1 lead.
The Red Storm added two more runs in the ninth after Benedetti and Matias drew back-to-back walks to open the frame. After both runners advanced on a groundout, Parque grounded a two-run single past the first baseman to give the Red Storm a 12-1 lead.
Spina added a solo home run in the ninth for Cincinnati.
St. John's will now face Notre Dame at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 22.
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