Sean Hagan turned in a terrific start for the Red Storm in their opener of the Charlottesville Region of the NCAA tournament.
Hagan went 7.1 innings, allowing no runs and striking out 6 to lead the Storm in their 2-0 victory over ECU. Hagan got into trouble a couple of times during the game, like in the bottom of the second when a diving catch by centerfielder Jimmy Brennan saved at least 1 run from scoring to end the inning.
Brennan wasn't just a star in the field as he went 3-5 from the plate with an RBI. That RBI was the first run of the game and gave the Johnnies an early lead. The Johnnies loaded the bases in the fourth inning with no outs and got a sac fly from Kevin Grove to push the lead to 2-0.
The Johnnies had a lot of chances and even left 12 men on base during the game. But Hagan and closer Matt Carisiti stranded all 13 of the Pirates base runners. Carisiti came in the 8th with one out and runners on first and second with the Johnnies clinging to a 2-0 lead. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third before Carisiti struck out John Wooten on a breaking ball and induced Chase McDonald to a fly out.
In the ninth, Carisiti had runners on second and third again with two outs. But he worked out of the jam; Caristi got Trent Whitehead to ground to Joe Panik who made an amazing catch and throw to end the game, sending St. John's to the winners' game tomorrow night.
NCAA.com's video highlights, below the fold.
Next on tap for St. John's is a match up with the Virginia Cavaliers in the winners bracket game of the Charlottesville Regional. Virginia defeated Navy earlier in the day 6-0 behind a complete game shutout by Will Roberts.
Virginia - the number 1 seed in the country - is a 50 game winner and a tough match up for the Storm. Like ECU, Virginia has a very balanced lineup with all of their players producing. The Cavs don't have a player with over 7 home runs; they do a lot of their work with moving runners over and scoring on singles and doubles. Players to watch tomorrow are catcher Scott Hicks (.340 7 HR 51 RBI) and third baseman Steven Proscia (.331 7 HR 53 RBI).
The Regional continues tomorrow with the elimination game at 1pm between ECU and Navy. St. John's takes on Virginia at 6pm which can again be seen on NCAA.com. We'll have a game thread if you want to discuss the game here.
The Red Storm are one step closer to winning the regional - but what lays in store for them you might ask?
The regional is a double elimination tournament, which means St. John's can lose to Virginia and still be alive. If the Storm defeat Virginia tomorrow they move to the Regional Championship games. If they lose, they will play the winner of ECU/Navy for the right to play Virginia for the Regional Championship.