Baltz helps St. John's force rematch with Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Freshman Jeremy Baltz hit two two-run homers, the second a go-ahead shot in the bottom of the eighth, as St. John's beat Virginia, 6-5, last night and forced another game with the Cavaliers for the right to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.
St. John's (43-19) and Virginia (49-12), each with one loss in the double-elimination Charlottesville Regional, will meet again at 6 o'clock tonight.
The Red Storm defeated Mississippi, 20-16, earlier yesterday. "They're starting to believe," coach Ed Blankmeyer said. "We're young. We're young and stupid, but sometimes that naiveness, it's a little scary. It takes you a long way."
Virginia scored all five of its runs in the fourth inning, then managed almost nothing against lefty reliever Kevin Kilpatrick (2-1). He worked the last 5 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits.
Kilpatrick said all the pressure will be on Virginia, the nation's No. 5 seed. "They're on their heels right now," he said.
Greg Hopkins gave the Storm a 2-0 lead in the second on a hit-and-run, punching a windblown fly that carried over the wall in right. Baltz moved St. John's within 5-4 in the fourth.
In the eighth, Baltz came up with two outs and Matt Wessinger on base and hit an 0-and-2 pitch well over the bleachers in leftfield for his 24th home run of the season, putting the Red Storm ahead 6-5. "That guy's a spectacular player," Virginia coach Brian O'Connor said.
In the first game, St. John's scored eight runs in the first and had 22 hits. Wessinger had four hits and five RBIs and Jimmy Brennan had four hits and four RBIs. Joe Panik had three hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs, making the top three hitters in the lineup 11-for-16 with 12 RBIs and six extra-base hits. - AP