St. John's Eliminates Ole Miss 20-16
CHARLOTTESVILLE – St. John’s topped Mississippi 20-16 in an elimination game in the Charlottesville Regional on Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field. The 36 combined runs marked the highest scoring game in stadium history.
Matt Wessinger led St. John’s, going 4-for-5 with three runs and five RBIs. He was a homer short of the cycle. Jimmy Brennan was 4-for-6 with four runs and four RBIs and Joe Panik was 3-for-5 with two runs and three RBIs. The top three batters in the Red Storm lineup combined for 11-for-16 with nine runs and 12 RBIs.
Matt Snyder led Ole Miss by going 5-for-6 with two home runs and six RBIs.
St. John’s (42-19) exploded with eight runs in the bottom of the first. Wessinger hit a one-out triple off the centerfield wall and scored on Panik’s RBI groundout. The Red Storm then added seven more runs with a two-out rally. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Paul Karmas, who singled in a pair of runs. Sean O’Hare followed with an RBI single. After a walk reloaded the bases, a Brennan single drove in two. Wessinger followed with a double to the left-centerfield gap, scoring two more runs.
Ole Miss (39-24) answered with three runs in the top of the second. Zach Miller and Taylor Hashman both singled to start the inning. They both scored on Alex Yarbrough’s triple to center. Yarbrough later scored on Tim Ferguson’s RBI groundout.
The Rebels added another in the top of the third. They loaded the bases with no outs, but only got one run, which scored on a double play.
In the top of the fourth, Ole Miss closed to within three runs at 8-5. Kevin Mort led off with a double and scored on Tanner Mathis’ RBI single.
The Red Storm responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Jeremy Baltz was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and scored on Jimmy Parque’s double down the leftfield line.
In the fifth, both teams again scored a run. Matt Snyder hit solo homer for Ole Miss. Brennan had a leadoff single for St. John’s and scored on Baltz’s RBI single.
St. John’s added five runs in the bottom of the sixth to extend its lead to 15-6. Brennan’s two-out double drove in two and he scored on Wessinger’s RBI single. Panik followed with a two-run homer to right.
Ole Miss loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh, but only scored one run as a groundout and double play got St. John’s out of the threat with a 15-7 lead.
The Rebels closed the gap to 15-11 with four runs in the eighth. They had runners on first and second with no out when Ferguson reached on an infield single, but the ball was thrown away on the play allowing a run to score. Later, Smith added an RBI single and Snyder’s double brought two more runs home.
The Red Storm responded with five runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth, extending their lead to 20-11. Joe Witkowski led off with a single, followed by a double by Brennan. Wessinger’s single up the middle drove in two runs. After a Panik double put runners on second and third, Wessinger scored on Parque’s sacrifice fly. Hopkins’ followed with an RBI single and scored on Karmas’ double.
Ole Miss got five runs in top of the ninth to make the final margin 20-16. Miles Hamblin drew a bases loaded walk. Snyder followed with his second home run of the game, a two-out grand slam.
Bruce Kern (7-5) picked up the win for St. John’s, going six-plus innings, allowing seven runs on 13 hits. David Goforth (1-6) took the loss for Ole Miss, allowing seven runs in 0.2 innings.
St. John’s will meet Virginia in the championship game of the regional at 6 p.m. If the Cavaliers win, they will advance to next weekend’s super regional. If St. John’s wins, it will force a decisive game on Monday.