Baseball - Sat, Mar. 14, 2009
LEBANON, Ill. - The Saint Xavier University baseball team split a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Hypes Field on the campus of McKendree University (Ill.) in Lebanon, Ill. Despite solid pitching throughout the day for the Cougars, they were unable to get the bats going, scoring only three total runs on the day.

In game one, SXU was led on the mound and at the bat by senior righthander Dan Miller (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic). Miller, who improves to 2-1 on the season, threw six innings of five-hit, one-run baseball in the pitcher's duel. McKendree starting pitcher Cale Johnson went the distance allowing five hits and two runs, while striking out eight Cougar hitters. Due to unusual circumstances (an injury that forced SXU to give up their designated hitter), Miller was forced to bat for himself in the third inning. His RBI double down the right field line gave the Cougars a 2-1 advantage they would never relinquish. Sophomore reliever Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) picked up the save (2) pitching a scoreless seventh inning.

Despite a solid pitching performance by senior lefthanded pitcher Kyle Zilis (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist), Saint Xavier fell, 3-1, in the second game of the doubleheader with the Bearcats. The Cougars took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single by junior righfielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton). Clements, sophomore third baseman Austin Lehmann (Shorewood, Ill./Minooka) and junior second baseman Matt Mueller (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) all finished with two hits in game two. Zilis cruised along for five innings of one-run baseball before giving up a two-run homer to McKendree first baseman Joe Dickman with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Zilis struck out nine and walked one, dropping to 2-1 on the season. The Cougars would threaten McKendree in the top half of the seventh putting runners on first and second base, but eventually grounded into a game-ending double play. Dakota Schutt picked up the win (2-0) for McKendree tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Mark Chapman picked up his second save of the year. The second game saw Saint Xavier drop to 8-6 overall on the season, while McKendree improved to 7-10 this spring.

The Cougars (8-6 overall) continue their series with McKendree University tomorrow at Hypes Field with a 1 p.m. (central) doubleheader. The Cougar will open up both their home and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) schedule next Friday, March 20, with a 3:30 p.m. game with Judson University (Ill.)