May 28, 2011
CLEARWATER, Fla. - Kevin Kilpatrick tossed 5.1 innings of one-run ball and Stephen Rivera worked 3.2 scoreless innings as St. John's did not allow a run after the first inning in a 5-1 win against Louisville to advance to the BIG EAST Tournament championship game for the second-straight year. Joe Panik was 2-for-4 with two RBI and two stolen bases, while Jimmy Brennan was 3-for-5 to lead St. John's (35-19). Rowan Wick and Paul Karmas added an RBI apiece for the Red Storm. Kilpatrick (4-3) had three strikeouts and walked none to earn the win, while Rivera earned his fourth save. Ryan Wright had an RBI to pace Louisville (32-29).
Louisville grabbed an early 1-0 lead in the first inning after opening the game with three-straight singles. After singles by Adam Engel and Jeff Gardner set up runners on the corners, Wright grounded an RBI single through the left side. Kilpatrick responded, however, with a strikeout before inducing an inning-ending double play.
St. John's answered with three runs in the third after opening the inning with four-straight singles. Frankie Schwindel led off with a single up the middle before Brennan dropped a single into right field. After Pat Talbut reached on a perfectly placed bunt single up the third base line to load the bases with no outs, Panik laced a two-run single into center field and the Red Storm grabbed a 2-1 lead. After Jeremy Baltz was intentionally walked with two outs, Panik stole third base to set up runners on the corners. Baltz then broke for second base and drew a throw, while Panik raced home to put St. John's up 3-1.
The Red Storm added a run in the sixth after Baltz set the table with a lead off walk. Baltz then moved to second on a Robert Case sacrifice bunt before Wick lined an RBI single into right field and St. John's grabbed a 4-1 lead.
Kilpatrick, meanwhile, worked 1-2-3 innings in the second and third innings and eventually retired 10-straight after the Wright RBI single in the first. The lefty, in fact, did not allow another hit until a lead off single in the sixth inning. After another single, Louisville tagged up on a fly out to set up runners on the corners and St. John's went to the bullpen. Rivera entered and got a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning.
St. John's used a two-out rally to add a run in the eighth inning. After the first two batters were retired, Case lined an RBI single up the middle before Wick drew a walk. After Kyle Richardson replaced Case at second as a pinch-runner, Karmas ripped an RBI single up the middle to give the Red Storm a 6-1 lead.
Rivera retired 11-of-15 batters after entering the game to close out the game and earn his fourth save.
St. John's returns to action in the BIG EAST Tournament championship against Seton Hall at noon in a game televised on ESPNU.
Notes: Karmas is now tied for second all-time with 243 hits in his career ... St. John's is 6-2 all-time in the title game.