Baseball - Wed, May 13, 2009
Rome, Ga. - Despite three hits and three RBI by senior centerfielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist), No. 24 ranked and No. 3 seeded Saint Xavier University could not slow down the offensive attack of No. 4 ranked and No. 1 seed Berry College (Ga.) allowing nine runs in the second inning en route to a 17-12 loss in second round action of the Field 3 Tournament of the NAIA Baseball National Championship Opening Round at William R. Bowdoin Field in Rome, Ga. Junior lefthander Jayson Koehn (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) came out after 1.2 innings on the mound giving up seven hits for nine runs (three earned) in the second frame to pick up his first loss of the year (9-1). The Vikings posted 17 hits on the day, while SXU tallied 11.
After a scoreless first inning, both teams heated up offensively. Berry began the surge scoring nine runs in the top of the second inning sparked by a three-run homer to left field by junior third baseman Mitch Terry. Trailing 9-0, SXU answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame behind a RBI single by sophomore third baseman Austin Lehmann (Shorewood, Ill./Minooka) and a two-RBI single by Skelly. A solo shot to centerfield by Viking senior first baseman Andrew Starr in the top of the third put Berry ahead, 10-3. SXU continued to chip away at the big deficit in the bottom of the fourth inning when junior leftfielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) hit a two-RBI single to right field to make the score, 10-5.
Berry scored two more runs in the top of the fifth highlighted by a RBI double to left-centerfield by sophomore second baseman Jarrett Northcutt to increase his team's lead to seven runs, 12-5. The Vikings tacked on four additional runs in the sixth inning capped by a two-run homer to left field by sophomore catcher Patrick Taylor. Leading 16-5 after six innings of play, Berry opened the seventh inning with a solo shot down the left field line by junior left fielder Jacob Lamar to make the score, 17-5. Unfortunately for the Cougars, the offense could not manage any hits in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, while the Vikings pulled away with seven runs off seven hits over the three-inning stretch. SXU made things interesting in the eighth batting through the order and scoring five runs thanks in part to three walks, a throwing error and a hit batsmen. Trailing 17-10 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars continued its rally attempt by posting four hits and two runs before Berry recorded the game's final out.
Saint Xavier (40-14 overall) now plays an elimination game at 2 p.m. (eastern) on Thursday, May 14, against the winner of tonight's match-up between No. 4 seed The Masters College (Calif.) and No. 5 seed Taylor University (Ind.). The winner of the 2 p.m. game will advance to the championship game at 7 p.m. (eastern) Thursday against unbeaten host Berry College (Ga.).