CLEARWATER, FLA. - The Seton Hall baseball team rallied late, but couldn't overcome a 6-0 deficit and lost to second-seeded St. John's, 6-3, Thursday in the second round of the 2012 BIG EAST Championship.
St. John's starter Sean Hagan was brilliant again for the Red Storm. The left-hander hadn't given up an earned run to Seton Hall in 15.1 innings before surrendering a pair in the eighth inning.
Junior Ryan Harvey (Manalapan, N.J.) took the loss for Seton Hall after going 4.2 innings with three earned runs. He falls to 6-4 on the season.
The Red Storm (35-21) got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning when Jimmy Brennan singled home Danny Bethea.
Seton Hall (34-23) appeared to be primed for a big inning in the top of the third, but the Pirates left the bases loaded. St. John's capitalized and it was they, who had the big third inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Matt Wessinger singled to right field, scoring the second run for St. John's. Frank Schwindel followed with a sacrifice fly RBI to make it 3-0 Red Storm. Wessinger stole second and then advanced to third on a passed ball. Jeremy Baltz reached on a fielding error by Giuseppe Papaccio (Nutley, N.J.) at short, and Wessinger scored with the fourth and final St. John's run of the inning.
The Red Storm tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by Brennan and Schwindel.
Trailing 6-0, the Pirates got a pair of runs back in the eighth inning. Sophomore Zack Granite (Staten Island, N.Y.) led off with a single to center, and two batters later, senior Will Walsh (New Milford, N.J.) tripled to the gap in right center field, scoring Granite. Papaccio grounded out to short, but scored Walsh in the process for the Pirates' second run.
The Pirates started to rally in the top of the ninth when Scott Kalamar (Bethlehem, Pa.) and Kyle Grimm (Bergenfield, N.J.) began the inning with back-to-back singles. Pinch hitter Chase Gray (Toms River, N.J.) followed with a grounder that St. John's second baseman Bret Dennis booted, allowing Kalamar to score and Gray to reach first, but pinch runner Chris Selden (Allenhurst, N.J.) was thrown out trying to go from first to third. The next two batters flew out and the tying run never came to the plate.
Grimm was the lone Pirate with multiple hits; he finished 3-for-4 on the afternoon.
The Pirates used three pitchers in relief, the most effective of which was home run derby contestant Connor Delepine (Middletown, N.J.). Delepine pitched the final 1.1 innings, giving up just one hit and striking out one.
The loss is the first for the Pirates at the BIG EAST Championship since 2008.
The Pirates will return to action tomorrow when they face #7 Notre Dame in an elimination game at 3:00 p.m.