St. John's baseball reaches second straight BE Championship

The St. John's Red Storm (35-19) is one win away from its record seventh Big East Championship and an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. 

The Red Storm land in the finals for the second straight year and will face the fifth-seeded Seton Hall Pirates at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Florida Sunday afternoon at noon on ESPNU.

St. John's is led by outfielder Jeremy Baltz, shortstop Joe Panik, and ace pitcher Kyle Hansen - brother of former St. John's pitcher Craig Hansen. Senior first baseman Paul Karmas is one hit away from tying the school's all-time hit record. Karmas has 243 hits and can tie or break the record Sunday, held by Mike Rozema.

The road to the championship game was not an easy one. The Storm defeated Cincinnati in the first round, Pittsburgh in the second round and faced Louisville twice in the semi-final elimination games.

After losing 7-5 to Louisville Saturday morning to force an elimination game in the double-elimination style tournament, the Storm was lead by Junior pitcher Kevin Kilpatrick (4-3) who threw 5.1 innings of 1 run ball. Stephen Rivera came in and shut down Louisville for 3.2 innings to pick up his fourth save and send the Storm to the final game.

Joe Panik was 2-4 with two RBI's and two stolen bases while center fielder Jimmy Brennan was 3-5 setting the table for the 5-1 win.

Seton Hall, who hasn't lost during the tournament, upset top seeded Connecticut in the semi-finals. St. John's took 2 out of 3 against the Pirates during the season, all played in South Orange, New Jersey.

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