June 6, 2010

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Matt Wessinger had five RBI and finished a home run shy of the cycle as the St. John's offense erupted in a 20-16 win against No. 22 Mississippi. Wessinger was 4-for-5, Jimmy Brennan was 4-for-6 with four RBI, and Joe Panik and Paul Karmas had three RBI apiece to lead St. John's (42-19). Bruce Kern (7-5) allowed seven runs and had five strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work to earn the win. Matt Snyder was 5-for-6 with six RBI to lead Ole Miss (39-24).

St. John's sent 14 men to plate and chased starter David Goforth (1-6) from the game in an eight-run first inning. Wessinger launched a stand-up triple off the batter's eye in centerfield with one out before Panik put St. John's on the board with an RBI groundout. The next 10 batters all reached base safely. Jeremy Baltz walked before Jimmy Parque singled to set up runners on the corners and Greg Hopkins walked to load the bases. Karmas then grounded a two-run single up the middle on the first pitch of his at-bat before Sean O'Hare grounded an RBI single up the middle on the first pitch of his at-bat. A walk to Joe Witkowski reloaded the bases and Ole Miss went to the bullpen. Brennan then greeted reliever Trent Rothlin with a two-run single through the right side before Wessinger added a two-run double to left center to give the Red Storm an 8-0 lead.

Ole Miss responded with a three-run second inning. After back-to-back singles by Zach Miller and Taylor Hashman, Alex Yarbrough lined a two-run triple into right center field. Following a walk, Kern picked up a strikeout before a run scored on a Tim Ferguson fielder's choice as Ole Miss closed to within 8-3.

The Rebels loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but Kern limited the Rebels to one run. After Matt Smith and Snyder led off with back-to-back singles, Miller was plunked to load the bases with no outs. A run scored on a 5-4-3 double play before Kern ended the inning with a strikeout.

Ole Miss added a run in the fifth as Kevin Mort led off with a double into left field before Tanner Mathis added an RBI single into right field as the Rebels closed to within 8-5.

St. John's answered with one run in the bottom of the fourth. After Baltz was plunked to lead off the inning, Parque roped an RBI double inside the third base line as the Red Storm took a 9-5 lead.

Snyder led off the fifth with a solo home run as Ole Miss trailed 9-6.

The Red Storm again responded with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Brennan led off with a single up the middle and stole second before advancing to third on a ground out. Panik then drew a walk before Ole Miss went to the bullpen and Baltz followed with an RBI single up the middle as St. John's took a 10-6 lead.

St. John's added five runs in the sixth. After consecutive one-out singles by Karmas and O'Hare, a Witkowski fly out set up runners on the corners with two outs. Brennan followed with a two-run double off the wall in the center field, before Wessinger chased reliever Rory McKean with an RBI single. Panik then greeted reliever Brett Huber by launching a two-run home run to right center to give the Red Storm a 15-6 lead.

After back-to-back singles to open the seventh, Kern was lifted. Ryan Cole entered and plunked Miller to load the bases before Ole Miss made it 15-7 with a Hashman RBI fielder's choice. Cole then induced a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Ole Miss added four runs in the top of the eighth to close to within 15-11. Mort was plunked and Mathis walked before Ferguson reached on an infield single, but an error allowed a run to score on the play. Smith then added an RBI single before Snyder followed with an RBI double. Cole, however, retired the next two batters.

St. John's answered with five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. Witkowksi led off with a single before Brennan lined a double into left center. Wessinger then grounded a two-run single up the middle before Panik doubled to set up runners on second and third. After a Parque sacrifice fly, Hopkins added an RBI single and Karmas lined an RBI double to the gap in right center as St. John's took a 20-11 lead.

Ole Miss, however, plated five runs in the top of the ninth off a pair of Red Storm relievers. Daniel Burawa retired the first batter he faced before allowing a hit and back-to-back walks to load the bases. Following a walk that forced in a run and kept the bases loaded, St. John's went to the bullpen and Stephen Rivera entered. After striking out the first batter he faced, Rivera allowed a grand slam to Snyder as Ole Miss pulled to within 20-16. Rivera, however, induced a groundout to end the game.

St. John's will now play Virginia later today in a 6 p.m. contest.

Notes: St. John's tied a program record with 42 wins ... St. John's broke single-season records in runs (485), hits (730), doubles (150) and RBI (448) ... the 20 runs scored were the most by St. John's in an NCAA Tournament game since May 23, 1981 in a 23-13 win against Central Michigan ... Parque had three hits and finished the day with 95 on the year to set a new single-season record.