CHAMPIONSHIP BOUND: Red Storm Defeats Villanova, 5-4, To Head To BIG EAST Championship Game

Yvonne Rericha went 2-for-3 to lead the Red Storm to its second-consecutive BIG EAST Championship game.
May 9, 2015

Final Stats |  2015 BIG EAST Championship Photo Gallery 

ROSEMONT, Ill. -- At the end of a two-day, seven-inning affair the No. 1 seeded St. John's softball team (27-17) came out on top as it pulled away with a 5-4 victory over the fourth-seeded Villanova Wildcats (24-30) to earn its second-consecutive BIG EAST Championship appearance where it will face the Seton Hall Pirates for the title.
In the start of the game on Friday afternoon, Villanova was able to come out of the gate quickly with a pair of runs on three-consecutive hits and a hit batter before Tori Free could end the threat and strand the bases loaded.
With momentum rolling, the heart of the Red Storm order got to work as Krystal Puga blasted a 2-0 pitch off the centerfield fence for a two-out double. Immediately after, Erin Burner was able to send the first pitch of her at bat back up the middle into center and force a wild throw home to score Puga and cut the Villanova lead down to 2-1. Just after the run crossed the plate, however, the lightening detection system horn sounded and the teams were forced to clear the field, halting play until 11 a.m. CT on Saturday morning.
Picking things up after a 19-hour delay, right where it left off with Burner on third and two outs, Kate Poppe was able to get Villanova out of the jam, stranding Burner on third to keep the game at 2-1 heading into the second.
After a scoreless second, the Wildcats began to threaten once again, loading the bases, but Free was able to get back-to-back ground balls to end the threat and get the Red Storm some momentum.
St. John's continued that momentum into the bottom half of the frame as Puga lifted a 1-0 pitch into center for a one-out base hit. Thanks to a double into the left-center gap by Brittany Garcia and back-to-back singles by Yvonne Rericha and Savannah Warren, the Red Storm was able to come back and take a 4-2 lead into the fourth.
The Wildcats were able to respond back, however, with a run on a pair of hits in the top of the fifth to cut the St. John's lead to 4-3.
Looking to add some insurance, freshman Lauren Zick led off the bottom of the fourth with a base hit up the middle and with a steal on the first pitch, Zick was able to score from second on a RBI single by Hannah Anderson, extending the St. John's lead to 5-3.
Villanova was able to cut the deficit to 5-4 in the top of the sixth, but Free was able to pick up three strikeouts in the top of the seventh to end the game and secure the victory over the Wildcats.
St. John's will take on Seton Hall in the BIG EAST Championship, marking the first ever matchup between the two teams in BIG EAST Tournament history as the Red Storm makes its third-ever appearance in the title game. The BIG EAST Championship will be aired live on FOX Sports 2 starting at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CT).
For all the latest news on the St. John's softball team, log on to and follow the team (@StJohnsSoftball) on Twitter. You can join the conversation with the hashtag, #SJUSB. If you would like to be added to the St. John's softball mailing list, send an email to with the subject line "Softball Mailing List." 




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