Baseball - Fri, Mar. 6, 2009
CLEARWATER, FLA. - Despite dropping the first game of the doubleheader Friday against Dakota Wesleyan University (S.D.), the Saint Xavier University baseball team rallied in the seventh inning of the second game to earn a win and split at Jack Russell Stadium, former spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

In game one, senior righthanded pitcher Dan Miller (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) suffered his first loss (1-1 overall) of the season despite pitching a complete game. The Cougars were tied going into the last frame, 3-3, before Dakota Wesleyan would scratch out three runs in the seventh with two bunt singles, a Cougar error on a sacrifice bunt, and a suicide squeeze to give the Tigers a 6-3 win. Offensively for the Cougars, junior middle infielders John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) and Matt Mueller (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) paced the Cougars both going 2-for-3 with a RBI. O'Brien, the Cougars All-Region shortstop, played in his first game since injuring his shoulder diving for a ball at Embry-Riddle.

Game two saw the Cougars trailing 3-1 going into the seventh inning. Freshman infielder Tom Simek (New Lenox, Ill./St. Laurence) started off the Cougar rally by singling between short and third. Junior leftfielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) followed with another single, but Matt Mueller's fielder's choice left the Cougars with a first-and-third situation with one out. Junior rightfielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) came up big with a two-RBI triple down the right field line to score both Simek and Testin. O'Brien gave the Cougars their first lead of the day with a double down the right field line scoring Clements. SXU tacked on two more insurance runs to make the final score, 6-3. Senior righthanded pitcher James Williams (Steger, Ill./Bloom) pitched six innings of nine-strikeout baseball to even his overall record on the season to 1-1. Sophomore rightie Ken Hurta (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen) pitched the seventh to earn his first save (1) of the young season as the Cougars evened up their overall record to 5-5.

Saint Xavier (5-5 overall) wraps up its 2009 annual southern trip with a split doubleheader tomorrow in the Clearwater Baseball Invitational. The Cougars will play Bethel College (Ind.) at 11:30 a.m. and once again square off with Dakota Wesleyan University (S.D.) immediately following.