Freshman Krystal Puga was named the 2015 BIG EAST Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
May 9, 2015
Final Stats | 2015 BIG EAST Championship Photo Gallery
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- For the first time in the program's 35-year history, the St. John's softball team will be heading to the NCAA Tournament after being crowned the 2015 BIG EAST Champions with a 7-5 victory over Seton Hall on Saturday afternoon.
"It's tough to summarize just how awesome a feeling this is," said head coach Amy Kvilhaug. "To do what this group of student-athletes has done is so very impressive. We set three goals this year: win the regular season, win the conference tournament and make it to the NCAA Tournament."
And the Red Storm has done just that, earning the BIG EAST Conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament next weekend.
"I have never seen a team come together through thick and thin to accomplish what we set out to do back in September," added Kvilhaug. "This team has been such an inspiration to me. I couldn't be happier for this group to win a BIG EAST Championship and to go down in history as the first team to ever do that is so cool."
Making only its third ever appearance in the conference title game with its first ever postseason matchup against the Pirates, the Red Storm opened things up with a two-out rally in the bottom of the first as Krystal Puga worked a walk on a full count. With the help of an Erin Burner single back up the middle, Brittany Garcia was able to put the Red Storm on the board with a RBI single into the right-center gap to put St. John's ahead, 1-0.
Seton Hall responded back in the top of the second, however, putting up a four-run inning on three hits to jump out to a 4-1 lead.
The Red Storm wouldn't go down without a fight as it bounced back in the bottom half of the frame with three runs of their own thanks to back-to-back singles by Savannah Warren and Lexi Robles to lead off the inning. After a walk to Lauren Zick, Hannah Anderson was able to send a RBI single into center to force a Seton Hall pitching change but that wouldn't stop the hot bats of the Red Storm as Monique Landini belted a two-RBI single back up the middle to tie things up at 4-4.
While the Pirates were able to pick up a run on a pair of St. John's errors in the top of the fourth, the Red Storm was able to answer immediately back with three-consecutive singles and a bases-loaded fielder's choice to put across a pair of runs and make it a 6-5 game heading into the fifth.
Thanks to a Seton Hall error, the Red Storm was able to put across an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth to extend out to a 7-5 lead before going down in order in the bottom of the sixth.
Down to their final three outs, the Pirates looked as if they would begin to battle back in the top of the seventh with back-to-back two-out singles, but senior Francesca Carrullo (12-5) was able to get Sarah Foster looking on a full count to end the game and seal the complete-game victory and secure the program's first NCAA Tournament bid. The senior finished the game with three strikeouts after allowing four earned runs on eight hits in seven innings of work.
Freshman Krystal Puga was named the BIG EAST Tournament's Most Outstanding Player after finishing the weekend batting 3-for-6 with two walks and a pair of RBI. Along with Puga, Savannah Warren, Tori Free, Francesca Carrullo and Yvonne Rericha were also named to the 2015 BIG EAST All-Tournament Team.
"All along we have said that it was the work of all alumni that came before us that has led us to this point," added Kvilhaug. "We have them to thank for laying the groundwork out and for supporting us every step of the way as they watch on. The support we have received and continue to receive from everyone has been nothing short of tremendous and we want to thank everyone for that."
The Red Storm will find out their destiny on Sunday as it watches on during NCAA Selection Sunday as the field of 64 is announced, live on ESPNU at 10 p.m. ET.
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