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St. John's ousted by Arizona in Tucson Super Regional

Arizona's Trent Gilbert, right, throws the ball to

Arizona's Trent Gilbert, right, throws the ball to first base to make a double play in the bottom of the ninth inning against St. John's. (June 9, 2012) Credit: AP/Mamta Popat

TUCSON, Ariz. -- St. John's handled the heat. It just couldn't stop Arizona.

The host Wildcats scored four runs in the first two innings yesterday and held off St. John's for a 7-4 victory in the second game of the best-of-three Tucson Super Regional at Hi Corbett Field.

Arizona (43-17) will be one of eight teams in the College World Series. St. John's (40-23) was eliminated after a long -- and largely unexpected -- playoff run.

The Red Storm won the Chapel Hill Regional to reach the weekend series against Arizona, its first-ever Super Regional appearance. St. John's lost Friday's opener in 10 innings, 7-6, after taking leads of 5-0 in the fourth and 6-5 in the 10th. Arizona led the entire game Saturday amid 100-degree temperatures.

St. John's shortstop Matt Wessinger called the run "pretty special and not something everybody gets to do." He added, "We played these guys pretty well after what they did in their regional. We had some success here, but it didn't end the way we wanted it to."

The Wildcats scored three runs in the first and one in the second off St. John's starter Sean Hagan and held on. Hagan surrendered five runs in six up-and-down innings. He walked seven, but it was a catcher's-interference call, not a walk, that turned the game.

With a runner on second and two outs in the first inning, St. John's catcher Danny Bethea was called for interference on Robert Refsnyder's swing. Refsnyder was awarded first base, negating a groundout that would have ended the inning. Then Seth Mejias-Brean -- who had three of Arizona's 12 hits -- Bobby Brown and Joseph Maggi singled for a 3-0 lead. "I probably should have put 'em down before that," Hagan said. "I guess it was just one of those days at the ballpark."

Facing Arizona's Konner Wade, St. John's scored a run in the fifth on Bethea's RBI single and had runners on first and second with two outs, but Bret Dennis flied out to centerfield. Wessinger's RBI grounder in the sixth made it 4-2, but Brown had an RBI double in the seventh and scored on Riley Moore's single to put Arizona ahead 6-2.

Jeremy Baltz doubled and scored on Zach Lauricella's grounder in the seventh to move St. John's within 6-3. Wessinger doubled and Frank Schwindel singled to lead off the ninth, but Wade got Baltz to hit into a 5-4-3 double play, with a run scoring. Sean O'Hare then grounded out to end the Red Storm's season.

Wade was stellar, allowing six hits and no walks in his nine innings. Arizona's starting pitchers threw 181/3 of 19 possible innings in the two games. Coach Andy Lopez made only one pitching change.

"I don't know how they're getting away with that, running two guys out there," St. John's coach Ed Blankmeyer said. "But God bless 'em."

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