Baseball - Mon, May 12, 2008
CHICAGO - After claiming the 2008 NAIA Region VII Tournament crown Friday, the Saint Xavier University baseball team will host No. 19 ranked Spring Arbor University (Mich.) in this week's 2008 Heartland Super Regional series, which begins on Wednesday, May 14, at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The best-of-three series pits the winner of Region VII against the winner of Region VIII to determine which squad will advance to the 10-team, 52nd Annual Avista NAIA World Series, which begins on Friday, May 23, in Lewiston, Idaho. The first game of the series will begin at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and the remaining games will be played at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday (if necessary), respectively.

As a team, SXU is batting .335 and are led offensively by sophomore shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) and sophomore rightfielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) each hitting an impressive .400 at the plate. Spring Arbor is hitting .342 as a team and are led by senior infielder Jim Baker, who is batting an outstanding .525 over 40 games this season. On the mound, Saint Xavier carries a 4.22 earned-run average (ERA), while SAU brings a team ERA of 3.46. Junior James Williams (Steger, Ill./South Suburban CC/Bloom) owns the Cougars' best win-loss record at 7-2 overall over 10 starts. Junior Jesse Bachman (8-2 over 11 starts) and sophomore Colin O'Connell (8-1 over nine starts) each have eight victories on the mound for Spring Arbor.

Saint Xavier brings a 37-18 overall record into this week's Super Regional and swept through the NAIA Region VII Tournament last week with a perfect 4-0 mark. Spring Arbor comes into the series with a 35-7 record and won the four-team NAIA Region VIII Tournament with a 3-0 mark. Last year, SAU finished as national runner-up losing to 2007 NAIA National Champion Lewis-Clark State University (Idaho), 9-2, in the final game in Lewiston, Idaho.