USF Eliminated From BIG EAST Championship

CLEARWATER, Fla. – A six-run top of the second inning was all the Red Storm needed as fourth-seeded St. John's held off eighth-seeded USF, 6-4 in the second elimination game of the 2006 BIG EAST Baseball Championship on Wednesday at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater, Fla.

St. John's (38-18) advances to take on the loser of the No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 5 West Virginia game on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The South Florida Bulls (23-35) were eliminated with the loss.

The Red Storm's Rob Delaney (7-3) threw six-plus innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out three to earn the victory. Justin Muir earned his second save of the season, throwing 3.0 innings of shutout relief.

Davis Bilardello (1-8) took the loss after allowing six runs, three earned, on six hits and zero walks in 1.2 innings pitched. Yuri Higgins kept USF in the game, tossing 6.2 innings of shutout relief of Bilardello, allowing zero earned runs on two hits and four walks with six strikeouts in a season-long outing. Chase Lirette retired the two batters he faced in the top of the ninth.

Chris Joachim and Will Vogl were the only two St. John's players to post a multi-hit performance with two hits apiece.

USF scattered nine hits, two of which came from Kris Howell (2-for-4).

Four singles, one each by Addison Maruscak, Howell, Brian Baisely and Brandin Daniel, fueled the Bulls' two-run first inning. Baisely's hit scored Maruscak; Howell scored on Daniel's single.

St. John's posted a six-run top of the second inning to take a 6-2 lead. Singles by Anthony Smith, Chris Anninos and Gil Zayas loaded the bases before Jeff Grantham plated SJU's first run on a sacrifice fly to right. Jarod Hickle scored Anninos with a single to right center. After a Vogl strikeout, Bryan Dirr doubled down the left field line to score Zayas, the Red Storm's third run of the inning. Dirr and Hickle scored on a throwing error by USF third baseman Dexter Butler in an attempt to throw SJU's Sam DeLuca out. Higgins replaced Bilardello before Joachim scored De Luca on an RBI single to center.

The Bulls cut the deficit to three runs, 6-3 on consecutive doubles by Butler and Ty Taborelli in the bottom of the fifth.

A lead off home run by Joey Angelberger, his sixth on the season, in the bottom of the seventh made the score 6-4.

USF-St. John's Box Score

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