Baseball - Fri, May 14, 2010
CHICAGO - Senior right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) finished the game with four hits, but it was not enough as No. 4 seed Robert Morris University (Ill.) swept through the competition at the 2010 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Baseball Tournament claiming a 10-4 win over top-seed Saint Xavier University in the championship game Thursday night at Les Miller Field on the campus of University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) in downtown Chicago. The game was suspended due to darkness on Wednesday evening with RMU leading 5-3 heading into the eighth inning, but the game was finished at UIC's field due to the heavy rains around the Chicagoland area Thursday morning. With the season on the line for both teams, the two coaches elected to start their pitching aces, SXU junior right-hander Ken Hurta (Midlothian, Ill./Bremen) and Eagles senior right-hander Ryan Rowe for the final two innings of the game.
On Wednesday, Robert Morris took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning off a RBI on a fielder's choice and a sacrifice bunt later in the inning. The Cougars would take its only lead of the game, 3-2, in the fifth frame when senior first baseman Ken Tezak (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) tied the game on a two-run single to left field and senior shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) put Saint Xavier ahead in the next at-bat with a sacrifice fly to left field. RMU would waste little time getting the lead back with senior first baseman Gary Bjorklund tying things up again, 3-3, with a solo shot to left field in the top of the sixth and then senior third baseman Joe DeCeault would put the Eagles back on top for good with a RBI single to left field just three batters later. An infield error in the seventh inning would help plate another run for Robert Morris giving them a 5-3 advantage when the game was suspended after SXU failed to score in the bottom of the frame. When play continued Thursday, the RMU offense clicked from the onset recording back-to-back doubles to start the eighth inning, which sparked five unanswered runs over the next two frames. The Cougars got a run back in the ninth off a RBI single by Clements that scored senior second baseman Matt Mueller (Burbank, Ill./Reavis), who reached on a one-out double to the gap in right-centerfield. However, with runners at second and first base, the game ended on a fly-out to left field.
Saint Xavier ends its 2010 season with a 37-16-1 overall record and finished second in the CCAC final regular season standings with a 23-7 mark. It was a tough ending for a special class of eight seniors, who amassed an impressive 146-72-1 record (.669 win percentage) and two CCAC titles over their four-year careers.