CHICAGO - Junior second baseman Tom Simek (New Lenox, Ill./St. Laurence) posted two hits, two runs scored and two RBI on the day as the Saint Xavier University baseball team split a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) doubleheader with Trinity Christian College (Ill.) on a frigid Wednesday afternoon at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (23-19-1 overall/15-5 CCAC) dropped the opening game by a score of 8-5, but bounced back with a 6-2 victory in the late game. SXU was propelled to its game two win by a solid pitching performance by sophomore right-hander Lucas Fritsch (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg). Fritsch threw the first six innings of the nightcap and allowed six hits, two runs (both earned) and no walks with five strikeouts. He is now 4-2 on the season.
The bats could not warm up fast enough for the Cougars in the day's first game. Behind just five hits as a team, Saint Xavier was able to plate five runs, but it was not enough as the visiting Trolls belted out 10 knocks, including a three-run homer to center field in the fifth, to pick up the 8-5 victory. Trinity Christian led 7-0 heading into the bottom of the third before SXU got three runs back on a RBI single by senior center fielder Anthony Maziur (Oak Forest, Ill./Northern Illinois University/Oak Forest) and a two-RBI double by senior right fielder Joe Dispensa (Chicago, Ill./St. Joseph's College/Mesa CC/St. Rita). An error by the Trolls would help plate another run for the Cougars in the fourth to make the score, 7-4. Both teams would score a run in the sixth, but SXU would go down in order in the seventh to end the game. Senior right-hander Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) took the loss (4-4) throwing six innings and giving up 10 hits, eight runs (five earned) and a walk with six strikeouts.
Following three scoreless innings to start the nightcap, Simek came up big in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out, bases-loaded single to right field that brought home two runs and highlighted a four-run frame for the Cougars. A RBI single by freshman shortstop Justin Smykowski (Crestwood, Ill./Shepard) and a passed ball plated two more runs for SXU in the fifth to make it, 6-0. Trinity Christian would score a pair of runs in the top of the sixth, but that would complete the game's scoring as freshman right-hander Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) threw a perfect seventh inning, including a strikeout, to secure the win for the Cougars.
Saint Xavier (23-19-1 overall/15-5 CCAC) takes Thursday off and returns to conference play on Friday, April 22, with a key game against rival University of St. Francis (Ill.). The nine-inning game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start at Ferrell Field.