Baseball - Fri, Apr. 2, 2010
Joliet, Ill. - Despite holding a 13-9 advantage in hits in the game, Saint Xavier University could not overcome three errors in the field and ultimately fell, 7-6, to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) in NAIA baseball action Friday afternoon at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill. Four different Cougars finished with two hits and a RBI in Friday's nine-inning match-up, but the Fighting Saints got six combined runs over the sixth and seventh innings to capture the key conference victory. With the loss, SXU falls to 16-10-1 on the season and 6-4 in the CCAC standings, while USF improves to 13-8 overall and moves into second place in the conference with a 5-2 mark.

Senior right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton), senior shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich), senior first baseman Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) and junior centerfielder Anthony Maziur (Oak Forest, Ill./Northern Illinois/Oak Forest) each posted two hits and a RBI on the day for Saint Xavier. Clements also scored two runs; while Tezak, senior left fielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), junior third baseman Matt Erickson (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) and freshman pinch runner Tony O'Shea (Valparaiso, Ind./Mount Carmel) each added a run as well. Senior right-hander Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) took the loss (2-3) on the mound for SXU allowing eight hits, seven runs (five earned) and two walks over the game's first 6.1 innings. Junior rightie Jeff Dobie (Glen Ellyn, Ill./Glenbard South) was solid in relief throwing the final 1.2 innings and giving up no hits, runs or walks with two strikeouts.

The Cougars took an early lead in Friday's match-up scoring two runs in the top of the second inning when Tezak scored from third on a double play by the Fighting Saints and Maziur hit a RBI single up the middle later in the frame. USF would get a RBI single of its own in the bottom of the inning to make the score, 2-1, after two innings of play. After three scoreless frames, SXU opened the sixth inning with three straight singles capped by a RBI one-bagger by Tezak to put his team ahead, 3-1. However, St. Francis would quickly tie things up with two runs in the bottom of the sixth, and then a costly error in the infield by the Cougars put the first batter on base to open the bottom of the seventh. The Fighting Saints would capitalize on the miscue scoring four runs in the frame to take a 7-3 lead. USF would get back-to-back RBI doubles in the big inning. SXU would rally in the final two frames getting a RBI single from O'Brien and a sacrifice fly from senior designated hitter Mark Siefert (Crest Hill, Ill./Joliet Catholic) to plate two runs in the eighth and then a sacrifice fly by Clements in the ninth. Unfortunately, the Cougars could not get the timely hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the ninth.

Saint Xavier (16-10-1 overall/6-4 CCAC) wraps up its three-game conference series with the Fighting Saints on Saturday, April 3, with a home doubleheader at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The first game of the twinbill is scheduled for 1 p.m.