Baseball - Thu, May 14, 2009
Rome, Ga. - Despite starting the day with a big 17-6 victory over No. 5 seed Taylor University (Ind.), the No. 24 ranked and No. 3 seeded Saint Xavier University baseball team allowed three unanswered runs and dropped a heartbreaker, 7-6, to No. 4 ranked and No. 1 seed Berry College (Ga.) Thursday in the final two innings of the Field 3 Tournament championship game of the NAIA Opening Round at William R. Bowdoin Field in Rome, Ga. With the score tied 6-6 in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Vikings got a RBI single with two outs to bring the game-winning run home from second base.

In Thursday's first game, senior centerfielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) and junior left fielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) each finished with four hits to lead the offensive attack for SXU. Junior right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) also had a stellar outing with the bat going 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs scored and six RBI. Senior righthander Dan Miller (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) threw the entire game and allowed 13 hits, six runs (five earned) and two walks with two strikeouts to improve to 9-2 overall on the year. With the game tied 4-4 heading into the bottom of the third, the Cougars exploded for six runs to pull away for good thanks in part to a grand slam by Clements.

In the championship game, the score was knotted, 3-3, heading into the fifth inning when freshman catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) hit a two-RBI single to left field to give Saint Xavier a 5-3 advantage. Berry got a run back in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI fielder's choice, but SXU answered right back with a RBI double by junior designated hitter Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) in the top of the seventh. Trailing 6-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Vikings racked up four hits and three runs over the final two innings to tie the game in the eighth and win it in dramatic fashion in the ninth. Senior lefthander Kyle Zilis (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) took the loss in relief allowing two hits, one run (earned) and a walk over 1.2 innings of work.

Saint Xavier ends its season with an overall record of 41-15. The Cougars won the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) with a 25-5 mark.