June 5, 2010

*Courtesy of St. John's University Athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Matt Wessinger had two home runs and four RBI as St. John's totaled four home runs, including back-to-back-to-back homers in the first inning, to defeat VCU, 8-6. Wessinger was 3-for-5 on the day and posted his first-career multi-home run effort to lead St. John's (41-19). Joe Panik had a solo home run, while Jeremy Baltz had a solo home run and two RBI. Jimmy Parque and Sean O'Hare added two hits apiece, while Sean Hagan (5-1) had six strikeouts and allowed three runs in 5.0 innings to earn the win. Brent Mikionis was 4-for-5 with three RBI to lead VCU (34-26-1).

VCU took an early lead with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. After a strikeout to open the inning, Richard Gonzalez reached on an error. Joe Van Meter followed with a single as Gonazlez took third, but Van Meter took a big turn and was caught in a brief rundown before reaching second as St. John's got Gonzalez out at home. Mikionis then sent a fly ball to deep center, but it ended up a two-run home run as the wind carried it out of the park.

St. John's quickly responded with back-to-back-to-back one-out home runs to take a 3-2 lead. Wessinger sent a line drive blast into left center with one out to put the Red Storm on the board. Panik then launched a home run over the bleachers in right field before Baltz made it three home runs in a row with a towering fly ball that was carried past the fence.

VCU tied the game at 3-3 in the second as Hagan limited the damage after the Rams had runners on second and third with no outs. Doug Otto opened the second with a lead off walk before stealing second and advancing to third on a bunt single by Paul Nice. A passed ball set up second and third with no outs before Taylor Perkins tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI groundout. Hagan followed with a strikeout and a fly out to end the inning.

St. John's used the long ball again in the second inning to take a 5-3 lead. O'Hare drew a lead off walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Wessinger then blasted a two-out, two-run home run to left center to give the Red Storm a 5-3 advantage with his second home run of the game.

The Red Storm added two more runs in the fourth. O'Hare and Joe Witkowski opened the frame with back-to-back singles before Jimmy Brennan laid down a bunt, but VCU took the force out at third. After a balk set up runners on second and third with one out, Wessinger lined an RBI single into left field. Panik then walked to load the bases before a Baltz sacrifice fly gave St. John's a 7-3 lead.

Hagan allowed a lead off single in the sixth and was lifted from the game. Kevin Kilpatrick took the mound and promptly rolled a 4-6-3 double play to keep VCU off the board.

St. John's added a run in the eighth. O'Hare led off with a single and was replaced in the game by pinch-runner Scott Ferrara. Witkowski then laid down a bunt and Ferrara slid in safely to second as VCU attempted to get the force out. Brennan was then plunked to load the bases before Ferrara came home on a Wessinger double play as St. John's went up 8-3.

VCU added three runs in the top of the ninth. After striking out the first batter, Kilpatrick loaded the bases with three-consecutive walks. Daniel Burawa entered and quickly got a strikeout before Van Meter added a two-run single and Mikionis added an RBI single as VCU closed to within 8-6. Burawa, however, induced a foul pop up to end the game and earn his 12th save of the year.

St. John's will now play Virginia or Mississippi at 1 p.m. on June 6 in an elimination game.