June 1, 2012
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Six players had multi-games as St. John's collected five doubles and a home run as part of a 16-hit day, while Kyle Hansen had eight strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work in an 11-3 win against East Carolina to open play in the NCAA Tournament. Kyle Richardson and Jimmy Brennan were each 2-for-5 with two RBI to lead St. John's (38-21), while Matt Wessinger was 3-for-5 with two RBI. Jeremy Baltz finished 2-for-4 with a home run and a double, Sean O'Hare was 3-for-5 and Bret Dennis was 2-for-2 for the Red Storm. Hansen (5-5) allowed three runs and scattered eight hits, while walking none to win his second-straight start. Corey Thompson was 2-for-4 with two RBI to lead ECU (35-23-1), while Jeff Hoffman (3-2) took the loss after allowing four runs in 4.1 innings.
St. John's manufactured a run in the second inning after Baltz set the table with a first-pitch double off the wall in left center to leadoff the frame. After an O'Hare groundout moved Baltz to third, Zach Lauricella followed with an RBI groundout to give the Red Storm a 1-0 lead.
The Red Storm took advantage of another leadoff double, this one by Dennis, to produce another run in the third. Dennis advanced to third on a Richardson sacrifice bunt before a Brennan RBI groundout gave St. John's a 2-0 advantage.
East Carolina threatened in the bottom of third after Bryan Bass led off with a single and advanced to second on a balk. Hansen responded with a strikeout, but a second balk moved Bass to third before a strikeout and a fly out ended the frame.
St. John's chased Hoffman and went up 5-0 as part of a three-run fifth inning. Dennis and Richardson led off with back-to-back singles before a Brennan sacrifice bunt set up runners on second and third and sent East Carolina to the bullpen. Wessinger promptly greeted reliever Andy Smithmyer with an RBI single into shallow right field before Frank Schwindel chopped an RBI single through the left side of the infield. A throwing error on the relay to third, however, also allowed Wessinger to score as the Red Storm went up 5-0.
Hansen, meanwhile, worked a 1-2-3 fourth inning to retire six-straight before allowing a leadoff double to Zach Wright in the bottom of the fifth. A grounder to short resulted in a forceout at third before a 6-3 double play ended the inning.
The Red Storm used the long ball to add a run in the seventh as Baltz launched a two-out solo home run to left field to give St. John's a 6-0 lead.
The Pirates, however, used three singles to answer with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Thompson led off with a single before Hansen responded with a pair of strikeouts. A Chase McDonald infield single set up runners on first and second before Bass followed with an RBI single and ECU pulled to within 6-1.
St. John's had an answer, adding two more runs in the eighth to grab an 8-1 lead. Danny Bethea was plunked to leadoff the inning before Anthony Iacomini laid down a bunt, but the Pirates unsuccessful attempt to the retire the lead runner left the Red Storm with runners on first and second and no outs. Richardson then laid down a bunt, but the Pirates successfully retired the lead runner at third base and ECU went to the bullpen. Brennan then greeted reliever Jake Harris with an RBI single before Wessinger made it an 8-1 score with a sacrifice bunt.
ECU chased Hansen as part of a two-run eighth inning. The righty retired the leadoff batter before a Tim Younger single and a Drew Reynolds double sent the Red Storm to the bullpen. Thompson quickly greeted Stephen Rivera with a two-run single into center and the Pirates made it an 8-3 game.
A leadoff walk to Baltz opened up a three-run ninth against two more relievers. O'Hare followed with a single to set up runners on the corners before a wild pitch allowed Baltz to score. A pair of one-out walks loaded the bases and sent ECU to the bullpen for their sixth pitcher before Richardson grounded a two-run single up the middle and St. John's led 11-3.
St. John's moves into the winner's bracket and will face either North Carolina or Cornell at 6 p.m. on June 2.