TUCSON, Ariz. –
Arizona built a 3-0 lead before St. John’s had a chance to bat and the Wildcats held off the Red Storm’s comeback bids to take a 7-4 win Saturday afternoon in the second game of the NCAA Super Regional at Hi Corbett Field.
The win sends Arizona (43-17) to the College World Series as the Wildcats took the first two games of the best-of-three Super Regional. St. John’s, which won a share of the BIG EAST regular-season title and captured the conference tournament championship, sees its season end with a 40-23 record.
The Red Storm looked like they would get out of the first inning unscathed, as Robert Refsnyder grounded to second base for what figured to be the third out. But Refsnyder was awarded first base on catcher’s interference, and the Wildcats followed with three straight hits to build a 3-0 lead.
Arizona made it 4-0 in the top of the second on an RBI single by shortstop Alex Mejia, but St. John’s was able to close within two by scratching across single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Danny Bethea smacked a two-out single to leftfield in the fifth to score Sean O’Hare, who had reached on an error, to put St. John’s on the board, and Kyle Richardson came in to score the Red Storm’s second run when he crossed the plate on Matt Wessinger’s grounder to shortstop.
The Wildcats opened the seventh inning with back-to-back doubles as Bobby Brown’s shot to right-center delivered Seth Mejias-Breen to make it 5-2. Riley Moore gave the Wildcats a four-run cushion with a base hit up the middle to score Brown and make it 6-2.
But St. John’s again had an answer as Jeremy Baltz led off the bottom of the seventh with a double down the leftfield line and scored on Zach Lauricella’s one-out grounder to third.
Johnny Field hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth to give Arizona a 7-3 lead, but St. John’s threatened in the bottom of the ninth as Wessinger led off with a double to the leftfield power alley and Frank Schwindel followed with a base hit to right. But Arizona pitcher Konner Wade got Baltz to ground into a 5-4-3 double play, scoring Wessinger, before getting Sean O’Hare on a chopper back to the pitcher to end the game.
Wade went the distance for Arizona, improving to 9-3 after scattering six hits and four runs (two earned) with two strikeouts and no walks, helping the Wildcats reach their first College World Series since 2004.
St. John’s starter Sean Hagan took the loss, falling to 8-3 after he allowed six hits and five runs (four earned) in six innings.
NCAA Super Regional (best-of-three series)
at Hi Corbett Field, Tucson, Ariz.
Friday, June 8
Game 1 – Arizona 7, St. John’s 6 (10 innings)
Saturday, June 9
Game 2 – Arizona 7, St. John’s 4
Arizona wins series, 2-0; advances to College World Series