Baseball - Fri, May. 1, 2009
Westville, Ind. - A stellar pitching performance by senior lefthander Kyle Zilis (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) combined with a two-run homer by senior centerfielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) equaled a key 2-1 victory for No. 25 Saint Xavier University over Purdue University-North Central (Ind.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) baseball action Friday at Hicks Field in Westville, Ind. Zilis threw all nine innings and allowed just three hits, a run and a walk with 14 strikeouts to improve to 7-2 overall on the year, while Skelly's blast came with two outs in the top of the seventh inning with the Cougars trailing 1-0. Friday's victory gives SXU a full two-game lead over the Panthers for first place in the CCAC standings with just five games to play.

Both teams started off slow offensively combining for just one hit over the first three innings. The Cougars had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fourth with runners at second and third with one out, but a strikeout and groundout ended the inning and kept the game scoreless. In the bottom of the fourth, PUNC posted back-to-back singles for its first two hits of the game and capitalized by using a sacrifice fly to plate the game's first run. Neither team was able to threaten over the fifth and sixth innings and things looked bleak for the seventh as well before Skelly came up to the plate. With two outs and freshman second baseman Tom Simek (New Lenox, Ill./St. Laurence) drawing a walk in the previous at-bat, Skelly overcame an 0-2 count and crushed a shot to left field to give his team its first lead of the day.

Zilis took care of the rest allowing just one hit and striking out six batters over the remaining three innings. Junior right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) and junior designated hitter Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) each finished 2-for-4 at the plate, while Skelly went 1-for-4 with two RBI. SXU finished the game with five total hits compared to just three by the Panthers.

Saint Xavier (35-12 overall/21-4 CCAC) wraps up its conference series with Purdue University-North Central (Ind.) on Saturday, May 2, with a noon doubleheader at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars are a perfect 16-0 this season when playing on their home field.