Baseball - Mon, Mar. 2, 2009
DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. - The Saint Xavier baseball team opened up its 2009 campaign by splitting a doubleheader with NAIA perennial powerhouses Cumberland University (Tenn.) and Embry-Riddle University (Fla.) Monday afternoon at Embry-Riddle's Sliwa Field. The Cougars (1-0 overall) started off the day with a bang by defeating No. 15 ranked Cumberland (6-6 overall), 6-2, behind a strong pitching performance by senior Dan Miller (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic).

The righthander (1-0) hurled six innings of two-run (one earned) ball, limiting the Bulldogs to seven hits on five strikeouts and only one walk. Offensively, a quick start by the Cougars in the first frame held up and proved to be their only offense of the day. Junior designated hitter Mark Siefert (Crest Hill, Ill./Joliet Catholic) provided a two-RBI single and junior second baseman Matt Mueller (Burbank, Ill./Reavis) followed up with a two-RBI triple in the first inning to lead the way. The first six SXU hitters of the game all reached base and scored. The early run support proved sufficient for Miller as he gave up his only earned run in the fifth inning, while wiggling out of a bases-loaded jam and stranding three runners. Sophomore righthander Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) worked a perfect seventh inning for his first save (1) of the season.

In the nightcap, Saint Xavier (1-1) fell, 8-0, to No. 13 ranked Embry-Riddle (12-6). Eagle righthanded pitcher Austin Quinn held the Cougars to one hit over seven innings of shutout baseball. For the Cougars, freshman catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) had the lone hit. Senior rightie James Williams (Steger, Ill./South Suburban CC/Bloom), who falls to 0-1 on the year, was roughed up for eight runs (six earned) over three innings as the Cougar defense struggled committing three errors. Saint Xavier (1-1 overall) continues their annual southern trip with another split doubleheader on Tuesday, March 3, at Embry-Riddle. The Cougars will once again take on Cumberland at 12 p.m. (eastern) and finish off the day seeking revenge against Embry-Riddle at 6 p.m. (eastern).