Baseball - Sat, Apr. 18, 2009
Joliet, Ill. - Despite a stellar game one pitching performance by junior pitcher Jayson Koehn (Beecher, Ill./Beecher), the Saint Xavier University baseball team saw its 18-game win streak come to an end in Saturday's nightcap against Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill. The Cougars (29-10 overall/18-3 CCAC) rode a five-hit shutout by Koehn to take the day's first game, 3-0, but gave up a late lead in game two falling, 5-4, on a two-run, walk-off homer by USF senior first baseman Steve Kehr.
Junior catcher Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) got Saint Xavier on the board early in game one with a two-run home run to left-centerfield with two outs in the top of the second inning. Koehn allowed just two hits and did not allow a runner past first base through the first five innings. In the top of the fifth, a two-out double by senior centerfielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) paid dividends as junior left fielder Tony Testin (Shorewood, Ill./Joliet Catholic) brought him home with a RBI single down the left field line in the next at-bat. With SXU holding a 3-0 lead, Koehn left runners stranded in the final two innings to improve his season record to a perfect 7-0 overall. He struck out three batters and allowed no walks en route to the shutout victory.
The Cougars carried their offensive momentum into game two when junior shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) hit a two-RBI single in the first inning to give his team a 2-0 lead. However, in the bottom of the third inning, St. Francis got a two-RBI triple from Kehr and a RBI groundout to take its first lead of the day, 3-2. Saint Xavier took back the lead, 4-3, in the top of the sixth when junior right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) hit a RBI single and sophomore third baseman Austin Lehmann (Shorewood, Ill./Minooka) hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Despite getting out of a jam in the bottom of the sixth inning, SXU went down in order in the top of the seventh and USF made them pay with a one-out, two-run walkoff homer to right field to take the 5-4 victory. Sophomore righthander Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) took the loss (1-2 overall) in relief allowing three hits and two earned runs in two-thirds of an inning of work. Senior rightie Rick Kehoe (Palos Heights, Ill./Richards) got the game two start giving up eight hits, three runs (all earned) and no walks over 5.2 innings.
Saint Xavier (29-10 overall/18-3 CCAC) heads to Bourbonnais, Ill., on Tuesday, April 21, to take on CCAC foe Olivet Nazarene University in a conference doubleheader. The twinbill is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start Tuesday.