Big East Tournament: Red Storm's offense sputters again in elimination game, St. John's loses 8-2 to Xavier

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

St. John's manages only two runs in 18 innings as season (likely) ends in the Big east Tournament in Brooklyn.

St. John's came into the Big East Tournament with some impressive stats on offense.

The Red Storm hit .320 as a team in their last 40 regular season games. They ranked eighth in the nation with a .399 on-base percentage. But as the familiar saying goes, you can't predict baseball.

St. John's managed to score only two runs in 18 innings during the tournament, and they came during an 8-2 loss to Xavier Friday evening. The loss ended the Red Storm's mission to capture their ninth Big East Tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

"Very disappointing," St. John's coach Ed Blankmeyer told the Big East website after the game. "St. John's wins championships. That's what I told the kids. We work for championships. We're not satisfied with winning seasons. We want to win championships. We were positioned to win a championship but it's not necessarily the best team (that wins) but how well you play. Today was just not a good game for us. Our pitching wasn't good and we couldn't put anything together on offense."

Xavier scored six runs in the first three innings to give St. John's little hope for a comeback.

The Musketeers tagged Ryan McCormick early and often as he came into the game as arguably the Red Storm's most reliable starter.

Xavier scored four runs in the third, which knocked McCormick out of the game as he could only record one out. His replacement, Matt Hennie, didn't fare much better before Thomas Hackimer entered the game to limit the damage.

Mitch Elliot smacked a bases-loaded double off Hennie to finish his day and give Xavier a 5-0 lead.

McCormick's final line wasn't pretty as he was officially charged with four runs on seven hits in only 2 1/3 innings with a walk and three strikeouts.

St. John's managed to break through for a run in the sixth thanks to an RBI double from Matt Harris and cut Xavier's lead to 7-1.

Michael Donadio lifted a sacrifice fly to leftfield in the eighth to cut Xavier's lead to 8-2.

Xavier starting pitcher Vinny Nittoli was solid in eight innings. He scattered six hits while allowing the two runs with three walks and four strikeouts.

"It's very disappointing," St. John's rightfielder Zach Lauricella said. "We came into the tournament as a confident team with what we had. But we ran into (Seton Hall starter Josh) Prevost (Thursday) and he shut us down pretty good and today was a major letdown for us. Very disappointing."

St. John's finished the season at 35-20 with a 13-5 conference record. The Red Storm's only real chance for an NCAA berth was a conference tournament title.

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