St. John's baseball is one step closer to the College World Series after defeating North Carolina in Chapel Hill, 9-5. The Johnnies will travel to Arizona and play in the first Super Regional in school history.
Saturday's game ended 5-4 after a walk-off home run by Danny Bethea against the Tar Heels. This win over the Tar Heels did not require late fireworks from the Red Storm - but it demanded a constant and gritty effort to win a tense game with numerous scoring chances for both sides.
After falling behind 3-1 in the second inning, the Red Storm rallied with three runs in the third, chasing Tar Heels starter Shane Taylor. The go-ahead run was a delayed steal of home plate by Jeremy Baltz after Sean O'Hare stole second.
St. John's tacked on runs in the sixth, seventh, and ninth inning. Robert Case's bases-loaded, pinch-hit double in the seventh plate two Johnnies and proved to be the winning margin. The Tar Heels threatened throughout, coming as close as 5-4 in the sixth and 7-5 in the bottom of the seventh.
Matt Carasiti (7-5) combined with three other pitchers to hold off the hosts and go 3-0 on the weekend.
Frank Schwindel went 5-5 on the evening; Kyle Richardson and Matt Wessinger added a pair of hits apiece. Schwindel and Jeremy Baltz scored three times each.
Jeremy Baltz was named Chapel Hill regional MVP. Danny Bethea, Kyle Hansen, Sean O'Hare, Kyle Richardson, Frank Schwindel and Matt Wessinger were also on the Chapel Hill Regional All-Tournament team.
St. John's will face the Arizona Wildcats next after Arizona knocked around Louisville, 16-3, in Tuscon to win their Regional. Dates, times, and venues for next weekend's best-of-three Super Regional set between the Red Storm and the Wildcats will be announced tonight.
The Rumble will have more on this matchup this week.
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