Baseball - Sat, May. 2, 2009
CHICAGO - The No. 25 ranked Saint Xavier University baseball team inched closer to a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular season championship with a doubleheader split against Purdue University-North Central (Ind.) Saturday afternoon at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars dropped game one, 9-7, but rebounded to take game two, 7-1, thanks to a solid complete game performance by senior righthander Rick Kehoe (Palos Heights, Ill./Richards). Former SXU legends Steve Wojciechowski ('91) and Kevin Sefcik ('94) had their jersey numbers retired in between games. The former Cougar greats played major league baseball for the Oakland A's and the Philadelphia Phillies respectively.
Saint Xavier rallied late in game one to tie the score, 5-5, thanks to a dramatic two-run homer by junior designated hitter Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill/Joliet Catholic). In extra innings, Purdue-North Central would load the bases on senior starter Dan Miller (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) thanks to a single, walk, and hit batsmen. Junior reliever Ken Hurta (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen) was summoned from the bullpen to face PNC's No. 3 hitter Chris Schultz. Schultz homered to deep right field to put PNC ahead, 9-5. The Cougars managed to score two runs in the bottom of the eighth thanks to singles by Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) and Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), both of whom would later score on a sac fly and a Tezak single, respectively. SXU left the tying run, Tezak, at first base to end the game. Tezak (three RBI) and Skelly both finished 2-for-5 in game one, while junior shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
In game two, the Cougars bounced back thanks to a solid complete game performance by Kehoe. He improved to 6-3 overall on the season, holding PNC to seven hits with four strikeouts. SXU's offense jumped on PNC starter Ryan Curless with five runs in the bottom of the first inning. After loading the bases with three straight singles to start the game, O'Brien hit a triple down the right field line scoring all three runs. He later scored on a wild pitch and freshman catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) finished up the scoring with a solo home run to centerfield. Kehoe was touched for his only run in the second inning, but cruised the final five innings rolling a couple double-play balls in the process to end PNC threats. SXU tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a two-RBI single by senior first baseman Matt Van Mill (Palos Heights, Ill./Bishop McNamara). Junior left fielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) finished game two 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Saint Xavier's overall record for the 2009 season now stands at 35-13 and 21-5 in CCAC play. Purdue-North Central snapped the Cougars 16-game home winning streak with their game one victory. SXU now leads PNC by two games for the CCAC regular season title with three games left to play. The Cougars continue play with a three-game conference series against Trinity Christian College (Ill.) starting with a home doubleheader Wednesday at 2 p.m. SXU wraps up its 2009 regular season with one nine-inning contest against Trinity Christian on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood, Ill.