After starting the Big East Tournament with a No. 1 seed and high hopes, St. John’s was ousted from the tournament by an upset victory from UConn off a walk-off homer.The Red Storm was blanked 2-0 against No. 5 South Florida for their first loss of the tournament, going into the match up with No. 8 UConn in a must-win situation.
Although the Johnnies defeated UConn in a 2-1 pitchers duel to kick off the tournament, the outcome of the second meeting would be vastly different.
After scoring only two runs in the first two games of the tournament, the Storm bats tacked on four runs before the fourth inning to give them a 4-0 lead in their third game. Third baseman Gil Zayas and centerfielder Chris Annios combined for 6 hits and drove in 3 of the team’s 7 runs scored. Designated hitter Ryan Mahoney also contributed with a 2 run double in the top of the seventh.St John’s starting pitcher George Brown gave up two earned runs and struck out three batters in 5.1 strong innings pitched, before being replaced by Justin Gutsie.
The Storm would be up 6-2 before the seemingly dormant UConn offense came alive in the bottom of the seventh inning with five runs to take a 7-6 lead. Connecticut scored their runs by way of a 2 run triple by centerfielder Gordon Stevens, a run-scoring sacrifice bunt, a walk with the bases loaded, and a fielder’s choice.
The Storm pushed across what would be their final run of the tournament in the top half of the eighth with an RBI single by second baseman Sam Deluca to tie it up at 7. With the game still knotted at 7 in the bottom of the ninth, UConn first baseman Matt Untiet launched a walk-off solo blast off Colin Lynch to propel the Huskies into the next round of the tournament against South Florida.