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Big East Baseball - Weekend Recap

Happy Opening Day everyone! Here's what went down in the first weekend of conference play.

Storms caused delays and doubleheaders this weekend in Big East Baseball.
Storms caused delays and doubleheaders this weekend in Big East Baseball.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

St. John's, Seton Hall sweep; Creighton wins series against Georgetown

Creighton at Georgetown

Game One - Georgetown 4 Creighton 3

Georgetown knocks off Creighton 4-3 thanks to a solid outing from Matt Hollenbeck, as the senior went 6 innings and only allowed 1 earned run. Chase Bushor collected 3 RBIs off of two hits, and AC Carter sealed the deal for the Hoyas in the bottom of the 8th, driving in an RBI single for his 3rd hit of the night. Creighton struck first with a sac bunt, an Ed Servais specialty.

Game Two - Creighton 4 Georgetown 2

Creighton gets revenge with a 4-2 win in game one of the Saturday double header behind freshman Keith Rogalla's gem. Defying all rules of baseball, this game was played over the course of 7 innings to get the Bluejays home safely for Easter brunch. The honey ham tasted extra sweet for sophomore outfielder Kevin Connolly as he drove in 3 runs on a misplayed flyball into center to give the Jays a 3-0 lead in the 4th. Then, as the baseball Gods continued to punish the Hoya ballclub, junior catcher Matt Gandy drove in Connolly with an RBI double. The Hoyas made an attempt to get back into this shortened game with an RBI single by freshman outfielder Austin Shirley in the 5th and a RBI single by sophomore right fielder Joey Bialkowski. Hoya pitcher Matt Smith recorded a complete game, which on the surface would seem really neat, but because the Easter bunny was visiting Omaha and the Bluejays had to board a plane with enough energy to play with said bunny, the game was only 7-innings. If this game was tied through 7, would it be recorded as a tie or would they play an eighth inning? Would the eighth inning count as an 'extra-inning'? I have so many questions about this.

Game Three - Creighton 4 Georgetown 3

Creighton defeats Georgetown 4-3 using six different pitchers to complete the double header sweep. Albrecht, Miller, Elman, DeCaster, Gerber and Highberger combined to pitch 9 innings, allowing only 6 hits and 3 earned runs for the Bluejays as the Hoyas went with Superko, Davis, Mathews, Brown and Ellingson to pitch. If you love a wide variety of pitching styles, this would've been must-see baseball for you. Fortunately, you're not that weird. Highberger faced a daunting task, holding a 4-3 lead in the ninth but facing a bases loaded 2-out situation. Highberger was quoted after the game saying , "Every baseball player dreams about this scenario, today I got to live it." Unfortunately, it was a nightmare for senior AC Carter, as he struck out swinging. Creighton finishes the weekend 2-1 in conference play as Georgetown falls behind to 1-2.

St. John's at Butler

Game One - St. John's 7 Butler 5

St. John's defeats Butler 7-5 in a delicious game that saw the Red Storm put up a 4 spot in the final frame after trailing the Bulldogs 5-3 through the first 8. Cody Stashak pitched to contact on occasion, but recorded 7 strikeouts through 6 innings for the Red Storm. Tyler Houston was the conduit for Butler, going 4-for-4 and falling a dinger short of the cycle. Relief pitcher Luke Johnson came into the game for the Bulldogs in the ninth only to give up a lead off walk and a single to the next batter, which subsequently ended his day. Facing the top of the order, Butler's freshman lefty reliever Josh Goldberg trotted to the hill. Facing the top of the order Alex Caruso dropped a beautiful bunt, with the sole purpose of moving Berardi and Valente into scoring position as a sacrifice, but managed to beat the throw. Bases chucked, down 2, St. Johns proceeded to record a HBP and a walk to end Goldberg's day and tie the game. Senior righty Kyle Allen came to the hill only to give up a 2-run single that would ultimately win the game. Thomas Hackimer came in for the Red Storm in the bottom half of the ninth, faced four batters, and sealed the deal for St. John's. Shawn Heide got the win for St. John's, Josh Goldberg was hit with the loss and Hackimer recorded his fourth save of the year.

Game Two - St. John's 6 Butler 4

St. Johns defeats Butler 6-4 behind a 7-inning gem thrown by junior righty Ryan McCormick. The Red Storm piled on three runs in the first inning after taking advantage of an Alex Caruso single to begin the game, working a walk in the next at-bat while third basemen Robbie Knightes drove in a run with an RBI-double. A sac fly and an RBI single by Jesse Berardi later, we've got a 3-0 ballgame. Jeff Schank, the sophomore lefty for the Bulldogs, seemed to settle down after allowing three in the first frame and went on to toss 6 consecutive scoreless innings to keep the Red Storm at bay. Senior Butler outfielder Michael Fries was the box score hero as he drove in the Bulldogs first run in the bottom of the first, pounded an RBI double in the bottom of the third and doled out an RBI single in the eighth. Speaking of the eighth inning, junior lefty Bobby Napoleon took the hill in relief of Schank to start off the top half for the Bulldogs, and the Red Storm offense took control. John Valente opened it up with a double to center and landed at third after a groundout to the right side. After a walk, junior second baseman Ty Blankmeyer drove Valente home to take a 4-2 lead over the Bulldogs. Caruso, who is quickly becoming one of the top offensive performers in the conference, knocked in another RBI to take a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth. Junior catcher Chris Marras stepped to the dish for Butler in the bottom half and smashed an RBI double, followed by a RBI single by Fries. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, St. John's collected an insurance run in the top of the ninth as senior outfielder Zach Lauricella mashed a double and was driven home by Knightes. Tommy Hackimer, the Junior righty, got another save while McCormick received the win and Schank was saddled with the loss.

Game Three - St. John's 7 Butler 6

St. John's completes sweep of Butler 7-6 with a thrilling comeback after trailing 5-3 after 3. Sophomore outfielder Michael Donadio crossed home plate 3 times for the Red Storm, yet the most impactful run he scored came in the top of the 9th off of a Robbie Knightes single to center. The offenses for both teams were churning at a high rate early on, as Butler scored 5 runs in the first four innings and St. Johns scored 6 within those same frames. With great offensive performances comes a handful of different pitchers; St. Johns utilized the talents of Katz, Magee, Graziano, Kalica, Clancy and Kuzia in an attempt to quell the Bulldog offense. The six of them allowed 10 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), allowed a free base to only 2 while striking out 7. Butler utilized a different tactic, allowing junior lefty Nick Morton to stand firmly on the hill through 5, then called on 6'5 sophomore righty Danny Pobereyko - who wields a fantastic mustache in his media photo - to finish the final four innings. The duo allowed 11 hits with 7 runs scored (5 earned), walked only two and struck out 3. Red Storm first baseman Matt Harris drove in 3 runs, center fielder Alex Caruso collected 3 hits and third baseman Robbie Knightes - who drove in the deciding run in the 9th - collected 2 RBIs on 2 hits. The Red Storm finish the weekend 3-0 in conference play while Butler gets panged with the golden sombrero at 0-3. Joey Graziano recorded the win, Nick Morton got the loss and Joe Kuzia slammed the door for the save.

Seton Hall at Xavier

Game One - Seton Hall 7 Xavier 4

Seton Hall defeats Xavier 7-4 behind a 7-inning outing from Zach Prendergast, outdueling Brad Kirchner who also reached the 7th inning. Zack Weigel contributed a hefty amount of scoring for the Pirates as he went 3-5 with three RBIs. Freshman pitcher Matt Leon sealed the deal for Seton Hall by scoring a save. David Morton, the second basemen from Xavier, led the Musketeers offensively going 3/4 at the dish, though DH Derek Hasenbeck hung a majestic dong which wasn't enough to crawl back from their 4-0 deficit. Prendergast collected the win, Brad Kirschner received the loss and Matt Leon recorded the save.

Game Two - Seton Hall 4 Xavier 2

Reading box scores for 7-inning games is a lot like crying into a bowl of soggy Cap'n Crunch. In the first game between the Pirates and Musketeers, which was played over 7 innings because Seton Hall had to raid a ship full of Easter eggs on Sunday morning, we saw shut down pitching and timely hitting by the Pirates. Notching two runs in the top of the first, a run in the 4th and a run in the 6th, the Pirates collected 7 hits over 7 innings, while Xavier scrambled to get 2 runs off of 6 hits. Freshman righty Shane McCarthy got the win for the Pirates while 6'6 senior right hander Adam Hall was saddled with the loss. Sophomore lefty Joe DiBendetto nailed down the save.

Game Three - Seton Hall 5 Xavier 2

This one lasted a full 9-innings, though the Musketeers probably wish it hadn't. 2014 second-team All-Big East first baseman Sal Annunziata collected 3 RBIs off of 2 hits and refused to stay off the basepaths for the Pirates after wearing another to complete a perfect day at the dish. This will be a game that Xavier will hopefully forget soon as the offense couldn't get it going, the Musketeers left 13 men on base while only scoring two runs on 9 hits. Seton Hall progressed to 3-0 in Big East play with the sweep while the Musketeers dropped to 0-3. Schellenger got the win, Astle got the loss and DiBenedetto recorded the save.

Villanova Moves On In Liberty Bell Classic... somehow.

Game One - Villanova 4 Lafayette 3

Villanova defeats Lafayette 4-3 with a particularly strong outing by Villanova freshman lefty Mike Sgaramella, who went 6 innings, allowing only 7 hits, striking out 6 and walking only one batter. The Wildcats third baseman Kevin Jewitt had a day, going 3-3 and drawing a walk, while Donovan May had two hits and an RBI. The pen held strong for Villanova as Courter, Doty and Almonte allowed only 5 hits, an earned run after facing 14 batters. Shortstop Eric Lowe, specialist DH/P Jeff Courter and left fielder Brian Trabulsi each recorded an RBI for the Wildcats as they topped the Panthers of Lafayette.

Game Two - Bryant 6 Villanova 0

Bryant shuts out, shuts down, destroys Villanova 6-0. There's nothing to see here, move along.

Game Three -  Villanova 5 Bryant 4

Villanova defeats Bryant 5-4 behind 4 RBIs from senior DH Jeff Courter and junior right fielder Emmanuel Morris. Villanova deployed 4 pitchers in the affair, allowing only 4 runs off of 8 hits, striking out 4 yet walking 7.