Double elimination tournaments give second chances, and for Seton Hall’s baseball team, a rough loss against Creighton was not avenged in the elimination game played on Friday afternoon against St. John’s at the Big East Championship in Omaha, Neb. The game quickly turned into a pitcher’s duel and ended with a battle of the bullpens. After a hard-fought game between both teams, the Red Storm came out on top in a 3-2 victory over the Pirates.
Kevin Magee had the start for St. John’s and faced an anxious Seton Hall offense as the Pirates jumped on the board early in the top of the first. Joe Poduslenko doubled down the left-field line and then scored on Matt Toke’s RBI single. The freshman infielder reached home on Mike Caputo’s two-out single.
Cullen Dana had his work cut out for him before even stepping on the mound in the first inning with a Red Storm lineup with eight batters hitting over .300. Dana gave up a double on the first pitch thrown to leadoff hitter John Valente. Gui Gingras’ single down the left field line scored Valente and put St. John’s on the board to cut the Pirates’ lead down to one.
After the first inning, neither team score until the eighth frame of the game as Dana and Magee were both in cruise control. Dana retired the St. John’s lineup in order in the bottom of the second, and Magee came back with the same intensity by throwing a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third.
The Red Storm had an opportunity to score in the fourth after consecutive singles by Troy Dixon and Robbie Knightes were wasted and both men were stranded on base.
The Hall was also not able to capitalize with runners on base or with runners in scoring position as it left Mike Alescio stranded after he moved to second on Caputo’s sacrifice bunt.
Joe LaSorsa entered the game in relief for Magee in the sixth inning and seamlessly continued the dominance for St. John’s on the mound only giving up one hit in three frames.
Dana allowed one run and seven hits in his six-inning outing and Anthony Pacillo took over for him in the seventh for the Hall.
In Pacillo’s first frame on the mound, he allowed one hit but was able to work around it and end the inning with a fly out to left and a 5-4 grounder, but the eighth inning wasn’t as forgiving for the Pirates.
Gingras’ leadoff triple to center in the bottom of the eighth was followed by Josh Shaw’s game-tying RBI double to left-center field. After the Red Storm tied the game at two runs apiece, the Hall had Andrew Politi take over duties on the mound.
Shaw moved from second to third on a sacrifice bunt and then scored on a sacrifice fly to center field by Knightes which gave St. John’s its first lead in the game at 3-2.
The Pirates tried to rally in the ninth after a leadoff walk was issued to Mikael-Ali Mogues, but the Hall was unable to score and drive in the baserunner.
St. John’s will play the winner of the game between Xavier and Creighton. Friday’s loss concludes the Pirates’ season, ending with a record of 29-24.
Andrea Keppler can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @keppler_andrea.