CLEARWATER, Fla. – Tournament Most Outstanding Player Matt Carasiti earned his second win in five days and second baseman Bret Dennis drove in three runs as St. John’s won its record seventh BIG EAST Baseball Championship with a 7-3 victory against USF Sunday afternoon at Bright House Field.
The tournament title was the second in three years for St. John’s and the third for head coach Ed Blankmeyer. The Red Storm, who came in as the No. 2 seed and finished as the only unbeaten team in the tournament, won the BIG EAST’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship and will make their third straight trip to the NCAA tournament.
Carasiti, meanwhile, worked 6.2 innings and allowed just four hits and three runs (two earned) Sunday. He struck out four and walked one to pick up his second win of the tournament and improve to 6-5 overall. He became the 10th pitcher in BIG EAST Championship history to win two games in the tournament.
With the Red Storm trailing 3-1, St. John’s (37-21) manufactured the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday as Jeremy Baltz and Sean O’Hare led off the inning with base hits. Zach Lauricella sacrificed the runners and the next two hitters – Danny Bethea and Bret Dennis – were hit by pitches to bring in a run. Kyle Richardson followed with a sacrifice fly to center to bring home O’Hare and give St. John’s a 4-3 lead.
Dennis delivered a two-out, two-run single to left in the bottom of the seventh giving St. John's a 6-3 lead after an error, a walk and a hit batsman had loaded the bases. The Red Storm capped the scoring on Schwindel’s RBI double down the leftfield line, which brought Wessinger home.
USF (38-22) had built a 3-1 lead in the top of the third inning after Luis Llerna’s base hit to rightfield scored Todd Brazeal. James Ramsay’s grounder to second was misplayed, allowing two more runs to come in. St. John’s got a run back in the bottom of the fourth inning on Lauricella’s solo home run before the Red Storm took the lead in the sixth.
Wessinger and O’Hare both went 2-for-5 for St. John’s, which finished with nine hits. Kevin Kilpatrick worked the last 2.1 innings to register his second save of the tournament and his fifth of the season.
USF, which was playing in the championship final for the first time, had just four hits against Red Storm pitching. Starting pitcher Andrew Barbosa allowed four runs in 5.1 innings, falling to 7-7 with the loss.
Carasiti accepted the Jack Kaiser Trophy as most outstanding player of the championship. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Baltz, Bethea, Schwindel, Wessinger and Lauricella from St. John’s, Derrick Stultz, Jimmy Falla, and James Ramsay from USF, LJ Mazzilli of Connecticut and Trey Mancini of Notre Dame.
2012 BIG EAST Baseball Championship Results
Wednesday, May 23
Game 1 – No. 3 Seton Hall 6, No. 6 Rutgers 1
Game 2 – No. 2 St. John’s 12, No. 7 Notre Dame 2 (7 innings)
Game 3 – No. 1 Louisville 8, No. 8 Pittsburgh 4
Game 4 – No. 5 Connecticut 7, No. 4 USF 2
Thursday, May 24
Game 5 – Notre Dame 9, Rutgers 0 (Rutgers eliminated)
Game 6 – St. John’s 6, Seton Hall 3
Game 7 – USF 12, Pittsburgh 5 (Pittsburgh eliminated)
Friday, May 25
Game 8 – Connecticut 4, Louisville 1
Game 9 – Notre Dame 4, Seton Hall 3 (Seton Hall eliminated)
Game 10 – USF 6, Louisville 2 (Louisville eliminated)
Saturday, May 26
Game 11 – St. John’s 2, Notre Dame 1 (Notre Dame eliminated)
Game 12 – USF 1, Connecticut 0
Game 14 – USF 2, Connecticut 1 (Connecticut eliminated)
Sunday, May 27 - Championship game
Game 15 – St. John’s 7, USF 3
BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament Team
P Matt Carasiti, St. John’s
P Derrick Stultz, USF
C Danny Bethea, St. John’s
IF LJ Mazzilli, Connecticut
IF Trey Mancini, Notre Dame
IF Frank Schwindel, St. John’s
IF Matt Wessinger, St. John’s
OF Jeremy Baltz, St. John’s
OF Jimmy Falla, USF
OF James Ramsay, USF
DH Zach Lauricella, St. John’s
Jack Kaiser Award – Most Outstanding Player
Matt Carasiti, P, St. John’s`