Déjà Vu: St. John's Defeats East Carolina In Regional Opener

UABSPORTS.COM Junior Bryan Bass recorded two hits and drove in one run vs. St. John's Friday afternoon.
Junior Bryan Bass recorded two hits and drove in one run vs. St. John's Friday afternoon.

June 1, 2012

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - For the second-straight year St. John's (38-21) got the best of East Carolina (35-23-1) in a regional opener as the Red Storm got multiple hits from five players and cruised to an 11-3 win in game one of the Chapel Hill Regional Friday afternoon at Boshamer Stadium. With the win, St. John's moves into the winner's bracket to face the winner of the North Carolina-Cornell game, while ECU will play the loser Saturday afternoon.

After a scoreless first frame, the Red Storm scored a run in the second and third frames by way of playing "small ball" to take a 2-0 lead, which they would never relinquish. Jeremy Baltz narrowly missed a home run to start the second when he stoked a first pitch offering off the top of the wall in left center. Groundouts by Sean O'Hare and Zach Lauricella moved Baltz around the bases for a 1-0 lead.

In the third frame it was more of the same for St. John's. This time Bret Dennis led off with a two-base hit to left center before moving to third on Kyle Richardson's sac bunt back to Jeff Hoffman in front of the mound. Jimmy Brennan's ground out to second scored Dennis putting the Red Storm up two, 2-0.

Four hits in the fifth by St. John's led to three runs and extended the lead to 5-0. After back-to-back base hits by Dennis and Richardson put runners at first and second, Brennan's sac bunt moved them into scoring position leading to a Pirate pitching change that brought in Andy Smithmyer. Matt Wessinger and Frank Schwindel followed with consecutive RBI singles putting ECU down five runs.

Kyle Hansen (5-5) picked up the win after throwing 7 1/3 solid frames where he allowed three runs (all earned) on eight hits. The right-hander fanned eight on the day without issuing a walk. Steven Rivera closed out the contest scattering three hits over the final 1 2/3 innings with a pair of punch outs.

Hoffman (3-2) suffered the loss in his first NCAA regional appearance surrendering four runs (all earned) on seven hits with a pair of strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Smithmyer worked 1 2/3 innings in relief allowing a run on three hits with two strikeouts before passing the ball to freshman Dylan Dickens, who surrendered a career-high three runs (all earned) on three hits. Jake Harris (0.2 IP), Dario Santangelo (0.1 IP, 3 Rs) and Austin Chrismon (0.2 IP) tossed the final 1 2/3 frames.

After St. John's added a run in the top of the seventh, ECU responded with its first run of the contest pulling within five, 6-1. Corey Thompson, who was 2-for-4 at the plate, extended his hit streak to nine games after leading off the inning with a single up the middle. Chase McDonald singled up the middle with two outs and Bryan Bass followed with an RBI base hit to center scoring Thompson.

Each team scored a pair of runs in the eighth putting the score at 8-3. Brennan singled through the right side scoring Anthony Iacomini and Wessinger's sac bunt to Harris pushed across Richardson.

Thompson laced a single to center scoring Tim Younger and Drew Reynolds in the bottom half of the eighth. Younger reached on an infield single and Reynolds roped his second base hit of the day, doubling down the left field line setting up Thompson's two-run shot.

St. John's capped the scoring with a three-run ninth to cap the scoring at 11-3.

Offensively, the two teams combined for 27 hits with St. John's pounding out 16 and ECU recording 11. Six of the Pirates starters registered at least one hit with Bass, McDonald, Reynolds and Thompson each collecting multiple hits.