Baseball - Tue, Apr. 6, 2010
CHICAGO - Despite a combined six hits and two RBI on the day for senior designated hitter Mark Siefert (Crest Hill, Ill./Joliet Catholic), Saint Xavier University could not slow down the bats of Olivet Nazarene University and dropped both games of its Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) baseball doubleheader Tuesday afternoon at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (18-12-1 overall/8-6 CCAC) dropped the first game, 9-7, and then fell in the nightcap, 12-10. Junior third baseman Matt Erickson (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) had another big day at the plate as well for SXU posting four runs scored and three RBI off five hits, including a pair of solo homers.

Senior left-hander Jayson Koehn (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) got off to a rocky start in Tuesday's first game allowing four runs off five hits in the top of the first inning. A couple of Tiger errors and a RBI single by Siefert in the bottom of the second plated two runs and cut the deficit in half, 4-2. However, the ONU bats would heat up again in the fourth with four more runs scoring off three timely hits. Trailing 8-2 after four innings, Saint Xavier would not go down without a fight and four straight hits, including a solo homer by sophomore catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) and a two-RBI double by senior left fielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic), helped plate four runs for the Cougars in the bottom of the fifth frame. Erickson got a solo homer in the sixth to make the score, 8-7, but ONU junior outfielder Chris Hammett would send his own solo shot over the wall in right-centerfield in the seventh to make it a two-run game, 9-7. The Cougars had their chances in the bottom of the seventh loading the bases with one out, but fly-outs to second base and left field ended the rally attempt. Koehn falls to 5-2 this season with the loss.

A solo homer by junior centerfielder Anthony Maziur (Oak Forest, Ill./Northern Illinois/Oak Forest) gave Saint Xavier an early 1-0 lead in the first inning of game two. The Tigers would tie things up in the second inning with a sacrifice fly and then took a 5-1 lead in the third inning off four big hits, including a three-run homer and a triple to centerfield. A dropped third strike with two outs came back to haunt the Cougars in the fourth as a failed pickoff attempt put the runner at third base and a RBI single brought him home in the next at-bat. Ahead 6-2 after four innings of play, Olivet Nazarene would add three runs to its lead in the fifth frame off a two-RBI single and a RBI triple down the right field line. Trailing 9-2, Saint Xavier got its offense clicking in the bottom of the fifth opening the frame with a solo shot by senior shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) and then getting five additional runs off three more hits, including a three-RBI double to right-centerfield by senior right-fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton). Despite closing to within a run at 9-8, the Cougars gave up a two-run homer to senior infielder Pete Smidt in the sixth and a RBI single in the seventh to give the Tigers a four-run lead, 12-8. A pair of RBI singles in the bottom of the seventh brought SXU to within two runs, 12-10, but with two outs and runners at the corners, the game ended with a strikeout. Senior right-hander Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) falls to 2-4 this season with the loss.

Saint Xavier (18-12-1 overall/8-6 CCAC) takes a break from its conference slate and heads to Romeoville, Ill., on Thursday, April 8, to take on NCAA Division II Lewis University (Ill.). The nine-inning game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start.