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The Beavers, ranked No. 3 in the country, jumped on Red Storm pitching from the start, scoring 13 runs off Anthony Smith, James Lally, and Justin Muir in the second inning. And that was more than enough output for victory in front of an Oregon State friendly crowd of 2,532 in Goss Stadium at Coleman Field. Smith, the Storm's starter, would not get a single out in the second inning after retiring Oregon State in order in the first. The sophomore transfer from George Washington was shelled for seven earned runs on four hits in the second frame. Smith, who was forced to start because of the thin St. John's pitching staff, had only made one conference appearance this year.The loss against Oregon State was the first appearance for St. John's in an NCAA Regional Championship game since 1993.The Regional started out on a sour note for St. John's, which learned that ace Anthony Varvaro, a draft-eligible junior, has a tear in his medical collateral ligament and will need Tommy John surgery. He will most likely be sidelined for a calendar year. With the loss of the team's best starter, coach Ed Blankmeyer decided to use stud closer and Big East Pitcher of the Year Craig Hansen to start against Virginia in the opening game Friday.Hansen, in his first start in two seasons, responded by allowing three runs and striking out eight in seven innings to lead St. John's to a 5-3 victory against the Cavaliers. Shortstop P.J. Antoniato led the Red Storm offense with three RBI on 2-for-5 hitting and Anthony Sullivan got the final two outs of the game to record the save. The win set up St. John's first meeting against Oregon State and the initial game was not unlike Sunday's beating. The Beavers defeated the Storm 11-1 Saturday night behind a complete game by Jonah Nickerson. St. John's starter Jim Wladyka gave up three runs in 4.1 innings to take the loss that would send the Johnnies into the loser's bracket of the regional to face Ohio State, who had lost to Oregon State in their first game.Sullivan tossed a complete game against the Buckeyes in a 7-1 St. John's win Sunday afternoon - a record 41st victory of the season for the team, breaking the previous record of 40 held by the 1978 squad that advanced to the College World Series. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out eight and did not allow an earned run in the performance that eliminated Ohio State from the regional. First baseman Chris Joachim hit a home run and drove in two runs and center fielder Greg Thomson had two RBI of his own in the win.St. John's, ranked No. 29 in the nation, earned its second at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament in as many seasons - the only team in the Northeast to achieve that feat in the past two years.Sullivan, Antoniato and second baseman Sam DeLuca were all named to the Corvallis All-Regional Team.
©2005 Community Newspaper Group
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