Baseball - Sat, Mar. 28, 2009
CHICAGO - Braving wintry conditions Saturday morning, the Saint Xavier University baseball team was rewarded with a doubleheader sweep of Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) foe Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) at Richard Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. SXU won the first game, 9-1, and hung on late in game two to capture the 2-0 victory. The Cougars (17-9 overall/6-2 CCAC) were led by solid pitching performances by junior southpaw Jayson Koehn (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) and senior rightie Rick Kehoe (Palos Heights, Ill./Richards). By winning the two games Saturday, Saint Xavier swept this year's conference series with the Wolves, 3-0.
In game one, the Cougars enjoyed another stellar pitching performance by Koehn. He threw a complete game (seven innings) scattering five hits and walking none to improve to a perfect 4-0 on the season. SXU jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a pair of walks to start the game and later a two-RBI double by senior first baseman Matt Van Mill (Palos Heights, Ill./Bishop McNamara). Van Mill finished 2-for-3 in the game. The Cougars had 10 hits as a team and scored in every inning of the game except the second.
Game two saw a similar dominant performance on the mound for Saint Xavier. Kehoe carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning until Cardinal Stritch singled with two outs to break up his bid. He pitched 6.1 innings of two-hit baseball to improve his record to 2-3 on the year before being lifted in favor of sophomore reliever Ken Hurta (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen). Hurta entered the game with one out and runners on first and second base. Two strikeouts sandwiched around a hit batsmen gave Hurta his first career save and clinched the win and sweep for the Cougars. Offensively, runs were much harder to come by in game two. Saint Xavier left the bases loaded in the third and fourth frames as CSU starter Andy Klein wiggled out of both bases loaded, no out jams.
SXU finally struck in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks in large part to junior right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton). Clements singled to start the inning, stole second, and then advanced to third on a bad throw following the steal attempt. With two outs, Klein uncorked a wild pitch and Clements beat the catcher's throw to the plate to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. SXU tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth thanks to a sacrifice fly by freshman catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) scoring junior designated hitter Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), who had led off the inning with a double.
Saint Xavier (17-9 overall/6-2 CCAC) extends its win streak to six games, its longest of the 2009 season. The Cougars will continue conference play on Wednesday, April 1, with a nine-inning game against Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Game time is at 3:30 p.m. (central) at SXU's Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field. The Cougars will look to take the season series from the Scarlet Hawks after splitting the doubleheader back on March 24.