May 9, 2014
ROSEMONT, Ill. - Senior Jackie Reed powered a pair of home runs to the deepest part of the Ballpark at Rosemont on Friday afternoon as second-seeded St. John's defeated third-seeded Georgetown, 5-3, in the BIG EAST Softball Championship Semifinals. The Red Storm punched their ticket to their second BIG EAST final in program history with the win, and will battle for the NCAA Championship automatic berth for the first time since 1990.
St. John's (28-22) wasted no time getting on the board, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first as back-to-back singles were followed by back-to-back walks, with Ellen Czuba and Reed crossing the plate. Both had reached base on singles, with Czuba going home on a walk and Monique Landini getting credit for the RBI on Reed's run.
The Hoyas (26-22) knotted it up at the top of the second after four consecutive walks by Tori Free sent Samantha Giovanniello home before a fielding error allowed Alessandra Gargicevich-Almeida to score and even the score at 2-2.
St. John's responded during its next at bat, with Czuba's sacrifice fly scoring the go-ahead run by Yvonne Rericha before Reed went deep, sending the ball screaming over the center field fence for the first homer of the 2014 BIG EAST Championship. GU's Lauren O'Leary was then replaced in the circle by Megan Hyson.
Both teams were held scoreless the next three innings, with the Red Storm leaving four stranded and the Hoyas one. Free held the Hoyas to just one hit over the first five innings before Giovanniello opened the sixth with a single and advanced to third. Sophia Gargicevich-Almeida came in as a pinch hitter with Giovanniello on third, looking to make it a one-run game, when Free was called for an illegal pitch, sending Giovanniello home. Gargicevich-Almeida earned a walk to get on base but GU was retired when Gabriela Elvina was robbed in deep center by Kelsey Moyer, the second acrobatic catch by a Red Storm outfielder on the afternoon. Czuba made the diving catch in right field to end the second, stranding three runners.
Leading 4-3, the first two St. John's batters failed to reach base as Reed stepped to the plate. Facing a 3-1 count, Reed sent one bouncing off the scoreboard in right center to make it a 5-3 game for the Red Storm with her second solo shot. She became just the fifth player in BIG EAST Championship history to record multiple home runs and the first since 2003 (Elena Ferrero, Boston College versus Seton Hall).
A pair of ground outs and a fly out made it three outs for the Hoyas as St. John's held on for the 5-3 win.
Reed finished the game 4-for-4, tying BIG EAST Championship single-game records for hits (4), home runs (2) and runs (3). Free got the win, going the distance with two strike outs. Hyson struck out three and was credited with one earned run. Giovanniello scored twice for Georgetown and was 1-for-1 from the plate.
St. John's is making its second appearance in the BIG EAST Championship final, falling to Connecticut 2-0 in the 1990 tournament trophy match. The Red Storm will face top-seeded DePaul, which knocked off Creighton 9-1 in six innings in the day's first Semifinal. The Blue Demons swept St. John's, 2-0, in the regular-season series by scores of 8-1 and 13-0 on March 22. The two squads have never faced off in the BIG EAST Championship.