Owen T Carroll Field was littered with major league scouts this past Friday evening, as sophomore ace Shane McCarthy and senior shortstop Chris Chiaradio helped lead the Pirates to a 4-3 victory over the St. John’s Red Storm in a pivotal Big East showdown.It was in the fifth inning when a seemingly innocuous throw to second by Pirates catcher Matt Fortin ignited what was until then a timid pitching duel. The throw, which was on line, managed to somehow flick off the heal of a head-first sliding Anthony Brocato into the outfield, allowing Brocato to advance to third.
Brocato would score on an RBI groundout by Alex Caruso to make it a 1-0 Red Storm lead, although the Pirates would answer right back in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI triple from Chiaradio. The senior shortstop, who had already singled in the first and third, said of his night that he was “seeing the ball well, and trying to take advantage and be aggressive.”
The Pirates would add two more in the second through a well-manufactured rally that saw Ryan Ramiz drive in one through a sacrifice fly, and Mike Caputo bring home the second through a line drive single. Caputo said of his at bat in the sixth, “Coach always says you got to want to be the guy when the moment comes. So going in, that’s what I was thinking.”
The Pirates would not relinquish the lead after the sixth, with McCarthy now 5-4 on the season going eight strong innings, allowing only two runs and striking out six.
The eighth inning saw Derek Jenkins bunt to put himself on base and advance the runner on second. As the senior speedster charged his way to first base, easily beating out the throw, scouts in the surrounding vicinity behind home plate looked down at their stopwatches and shook their heads in awe and disbelief. Jenkins would later steal second, giving him his 51st steal on the season, only eight shy of the NCAA single season record.
The next batter up would be Zach Weigel, who drove in the fourth and game-clinching run on a sacrifice fly to center as the Pirates held on for their sixth Big East conference victory of the season. The Pirates will have a chance to pull to .500 in Big East play this afternoon as they take on St. John’s for the second game of a three-game set.
James Justice can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MLSTakeover.