Despite a late inning rally the Pirates came up short, 6-3, to St. John’s in the second game of the 2012 Big East Championship on Thursday.
Red Storm pitcher Sean Hagan shut down the Pirates offense through 7.2 innings, allowing two runs, which came in the eighth inning, on six hits while striking out four.
The Pirates were caught in serious trouble in the difference-making fifth inning as the Red Storm struck big as shortstop Matt Wessinger singled to right field to bring home center fielder Kyle Richardson and advanced right fielder Jimmy Brennan to third.
First baseman Frank Schwindel then flew out to Zack Granite in center field, but the ball was deep enough to allow Brennan to tag up and score to give St. John’s a 3-0 lead.
Wessinger stole second base for the second time of the afternoon. He advanced to third on a passed ball from catcher Dillon Hamlin.
With a chance to end the inning, Papaccio failed to handle a routine ground ball to allow Wessinger to score and left fielder Jeremy Baltz to reach safely. Hamlin caught Baltz stealing to end the inning, but not before St. John’s could take a 4-0 lead.
St. John’s added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to extend the lead to 6-0.
The Pirates gained some momentum in the top of the eighth inning as Will Walsh tripled to the gap in right center field, which drove home center fielder Zack Granite for the first run of the Game for the Pirates.
Papaccio would ground out to second, but brought Walsh home to score to cut the lead to 6-2.
The Pirates would score one run in the top of the ninth to bring the game to within three, however their rally came up short.
The loss drops the Pirates to an elimination game tomorrow at 3 p.m. against No. 7 Notre Dame, a team the Pirates swept earlier in the season.
T.J. Brennan can be reached at Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.