Baseball - Mon, May 10, 2010
CHICAGO - Monday was a day of highs and lows for the Saint Xavier University baseball team. Hosting the four-team 2010 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) 2nd-5th Place Baseball Tournament, the top-seeded Cougars opened the event with a tough 12-2 loss in seven innings to No. 4 seed Robert Morris University (Ill.) at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. However, a stellar pitching performance by junior right-hander Ken Hurta (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen) in the tourney's first elimination game Monday afternoon gave SXU a 3-0 victory over No. 2 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). The Cougars advance to take on No. 3 seed Judson University (Ill.) in an elimination game at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Ferrell Field.
RMU scored 10 runs, all with two outs, in a huge second inning that gave the Eagles an early 10-0 advantage after just two innings of play. After starting off with a double, Robert Morris used a sacrifice bunt to move the runner over to third base and then posted a strikeout before nine hits and an error brought 10 Eagle players across home plate. RMU junior starter Dan Martinez limited Saint Xavier's offense throughout the game allowing just four hits, two runs (both earned) and two walks with six strikeouts. Senior left fielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) finished with two hits and a run scored for the Cougars, while sophomore catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) hit a two-RBI single with two outs in the top of the seventh to put SXU on the scoreboard. Senior left-hander Jayson Koehn (Beecher, Ill./Beecher) fell to 8-4 this season with the loss for the Cougars.
With Saint Xavier facing elimination in Monday's second game, Hurta came out strong on the mound allowing just one Olivet hit over the first six innings. The Cougar offense would give him some support in the top of the fourth inning when senior shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) hit a sacrifice fly to right field to make the score, 1-0. Infield errors by the Tigers in the fifth and sixth frames helped plate two more runs for SXU, one in each inning, to give the Cougars a 3-0 advantage heading into the seventh. Olivet Nazarene would leave five runners stranded over the final three frames and had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the ninth before Saint Xavier ended the game on a double play. Hurta threw 8.1 innings for the Cougars and gave up just five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. He improves to 12-1 on the season with the victory. Senior first baseman Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) finished with two hits and a runs scored for SXU in the win over ONU. Saint Xavier (36-15-1 overall/23-7 CCAC) hopes to fight off elimination again against No. 3 seed Judson on Tuesday, May 11, at 11 a.m. at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field. The winner of that match-up will face unbeaten No. 4 seed Robert Morris for the tournament championship at 3 p.m. If necessary, a second game to determine the champion would be played at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 12, at Ferrell Field.