June 9, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. - The deepest NCAA Tournament run since 1980 came to end for St. John's with a 7-4 defeat against Arizona in the best-of-three Tucson Super Regional. St. John' (40-23), which advanced to its first-ever Super Regional and won its first NCAA Regional since 1980, also won both the BIG EAST Tournament and regular crowns in the same season for the first time in program history and reached the 40-win mark for the sixth time in the past eight seasons.
Matt Wessinger finished 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Jeremy Baltz was 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored for the Red Storm. Zach Lauricella and Danny Bethea were each 1-for-3 with an RBI. Sean Hagan (8-3) lost for the first time in his past nine starts, allowing five runs, four earned, in 6.0 innings of work. Seth Mejias-Brean was 3-for-5 for Arizona (43-17), while starter Konner Wade (9-3) allowed four runs, two earned, in a complete game effort.
Arizona took advantage of a leadoff walk and a catcher's interference call to plate three two-out runs in the first inning. Joey Rickard walked to open the inning before a sacrifice bunt and a flyout gave the Wildcats a runner on second with two outs. Robert Refsnyder then appeared to groundout to end the inning, but was awarded first base on a catcher's interference call to extend the inning. Mejias-Brean, Bobby Brown and Joseph Maggi followed with three-consecutive RBI singles and the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats added a run in the second after a one-out walk to Rickard set the table. After Johnny Field followed with a single, Alex Mejia gave Arizona a 4-0 lead with an RBI single before Hagan retired the next two batters to end the frame.
St. John's, meanwhile, had its first nine batters retired by Wade before Kyle Richardson led off the fourth with an infield single. Wade responded with a double play, however, before getting an inning-ending pop up.
The Red Storm used a two-out rally to plate a run in the fifth. After Wade retired the first two batters, Sean O'Hare reached on an error to extend the inning. Lauricella followed with a single into center to set up runners on the corners before Bethea lined an RBI single into left field to pull St. John's to within 4-1.
Hagan settled into a groove with 1-2-3 frames in the fourth and fifth, retiring seven-straight batters before issuing a leadoff walk in the sixth. A sacrifice bunt and a two-out walk gave the Wildcats runners on the corners, but Hagan escaped with a strikeout.
St. John's took advantage of an error to plate an unearned run in the sixth. Richardson reached on an error to open the inning before advancing to second on a groundout. Richardson advanced to third on a passed ball before Wessinger made it a 4-2 game with an RBI groundout.
Arizona chased Hagan and grabbed a 6-2 lead as part of a two-run seventh. A leadoff double by Mejias-Brean sent St. John's to the bullpen as James Lomangino entered the game. After Brown greeted the reliever with an RBI double, Riley Moore grounded an RBI single up the middle before Lomangino got out of the inning.
The Red Storm plated a run with for the third-straight inning in the bottom of the seventh as Baltz set the table with a leadoff double. An O'Hare groundout moved Baltz to third before a Lauricella RBI groundout pulled St. John's to within 6-3.
Arizona loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth before Field lifted sacrifice fly into left field to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead. Mejia followed with a two-out single to left, but Baltz came up throwing to cut down Trent Gilbert at the plate and send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
St. John's put the leadoff man on base to begin a rally attempt as Wessinger doubled into the left field corner to open the frame. Frank Schwindel followed with a single into right center and the Red Storm quickly had runners on the corners with no outs. Wade, however, induced a grounder to third as Arizona traded a run for a 5-4-3 double play as St. John's made it 7-4 before a groundout ended the game.