May 2, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Â St. John’s third baseman Greg Hopkins went 4-for-5 and added nine assists from the hot corner as the Red Storm knocked off Notre Dame, 9-4, in the rubber game of their BIG EAST series with the Irish Sunday afternoon at Frank Eck Stadium.
St. John’s improves to 29-13 overall and 12-6 in the conference, while Notre Dame drops to 20-24 and 8-10.
Red Storm starting pitcher Matt Carasiti picked up the victory and improved to 6-2 on the season. The right-handed hurler was not overpowering, but stifled the Irish over 5.1 innings of work. Carasiti yielded three runs, two earned, on six hits. He fanned a pair and walked one, but induced 10 ground outs, including six to third base alone.
Joe Panik, Jeremy Baltz, Paul Karmas and Sean O’Hare all chipped in with multi-hit games. Baltz went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, two RBI (a two-run shot).
Notre Dame senior Eric Maust was charged with the loss and dropped to 0-4. The righty surrendered five runs, four of which were earned, on eight hits in 4.0 innings of work. He issued one walk and did not register a strikeout.
Senior closer Steven Mazur tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief and fanned a batter.
The Red Storm took advantage of a walk and errant pick off attempt from Maust to grab a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Scott Ferrara drew a leadoff walk after falling behind in the count 0-2. Maust then threw wildly on a pickoff attempt and Ferrara raced all the way to third base. Panik followed with a weak ground out to shortstop that scored Ferrara.
Maust got out of the inning with a sparkling 6-4-3 double play. Doyle ranged deep into the hole, picked the hard grounder with his back hand, spun and fired to DeSico at second, who turned and threw on target to senior Casey Martin at first base.
The Red Storm pushed their lead to 2-0 in the top of the second. Hopkins led off the frame with a bloop single to center and scored on Karmas’ RBI double into the right centerfield gap, but Maust got consecutive fly outs to prevent any further damage.
Notre Dame took advantage of a St. John’s miscue to cut its deficit in half. Doyle hammered a double to the centerfield wall and raced home on junior catcher Cameron McConnell’s ground ball that got underneath the glove of Matt Wessinger at second base.
St. John’s opened the fourth with back-to-back base hits to put runners on the corners, but Maust got a ground ball double play. While a run did score to make it 3-1, Maust appeared out of trouble. Unfortunately, the Red Storm followed with three straight hits, including a two-run single from Joe Witkowski to push their advantage to 5-1.
Baltz hit his second home run of the weekend and team-leading 12th of the year in the top of the fifth inning to give St. John’s a 7-1 lead.
The Irish scratched a two-out run off Carasiti in the bottom of the fifth inning to draw within five runs, 7-2. Junior third baseman Greg Sherry ripped a two-out single the other way and senior left fielder Ryan Connolly followed with a walk. DeSico then dropped in a RBI single to put runners on the corners, but Carasiti fanned senior designated hitter David Mills to end the inning.
The Red Storm answered with a run of their own in the top of the sixth inning to regain a six-run cushion. Sophomore Will Hudgins jammed Ferrara on an 0-1 fast ball, but the centerfielder managed to drop in an RBI flare just over Doyle’s head in short left field.
Notre Dame cut into the St. John’s lead, again, in the bottom of the sixth. Senior centerfielder Brayden Ashdown roped a double just inside the third base bag with one out and coasted home on Doyle’s two-out, RBI two-bagger. The double was the second of the game for Doyle, who snapped out of an 0-for-20 slump on Saturday (Doyle’s last three hits have all been doubles).
After St. John’s pushed its lead to 9-3 in the top of the eighth, Notre Dame mounted a rally in the bottom half of the inning. Mills led of the inning with a single and Martin followed with a walk off of St. John’s reliever Kevin Kilpatrick, but Ryan Cole came out of the Red Storm bullpen and got three consecutive ground balls to Hopkins at third base to limit the damage to just one run.
Hopkins registered nine assists on the afternoon from the hot corner and would have been 10 assists had it not been for an Irish out being called runners interference early in the game. In fact, the Red Storm pitching staff induced 16 ground ball outs.
Kilpatrick allowed a run on two hits in 1.2 innings. The southpaw fanned a pair and walked one.
Burawa tossed a scoreless ninth inning.
Hudgins worked 2.2 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits. He walked three. Mills allowed a pair of runs on two hits in 2.0 innings of work.
Notre Dame has the next five days off for final exams. The Irish return to action with a doubleheader against West Virginia at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 8 at Hawley Field. GameTracker, live blog and recap of Saturday’s games will be available on UND.com.