Baseball - Fri, May 9, 2008
Joliet, Ill. - Behind an impressive 18 hits, the No. 3 seeded Saint Xavier University baseball team won its fourth straight game of the 2008 NAIA Region VII Tournament, a 15-3 victory over No. 2 seed St. Ambrose University (Iowa), and claimed the region title for the third time in the past four seasons. The Cougars (37-18 overall) now advance to next week's Region VII-VIII Super Regional, a best-of-three series between the winners of the two regions to determine which team will go to the 2008 NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. Since Region VIII hosted the Super Regional in 2007, SXU will host this year's Super Regional series at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago beginning Wednesday, May 14.
Saint Xavier took control early on scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. However, the Fighting Bees tied the game, 2-2, with a run apiece in the first and third innings. Fortunately for the Cougars, the bats came alive and 12 hits over the middle three innings led to 10 unanswered runs, which built a 12-2 advantage. SXU added three more runs in the top of the ninth to cap its 15-run output. Sophomore rightfielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) led the offensive attack with four hits, three runs scored, and two RBI. Sophomore shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) and freshman third baseman Austin Lehmann (Shorewood, Ill./Minooka) each finished with three hits and two RBI. Freshman righthander Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) earned the victory on the mound for the Cougars throwing 8.1 innings and allowing just eight hits, three runs (two earned), and two walks with two strikeouts. He improves to 5-1 on the season with the win.
Saint Xavier (37-18 overall) hosts next week's NAIA Region VII-VIII Super Regional, which begins on Wednesday, May 14. The Cougars will face the winner of the NAIA Region VIII Tournament, which wraps up on Saturday, May 10.