Joliet, Ill. - It was a long day of baseball Saturday for Saint Xavier University. With Friday's postponement due to rain and the end of the regular season looming, both SXU and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) decided to play a tripleheader Saturday at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill. The end result was a pair of victories for the Fighting Saints sandwiched in between a 14-1 win for the Cougars thanks to a solid pitching performance by sophomore right-hander Mike Stirling (Thornton, Ill./Mount Carmel). Saint Xavier dropped the first game by a score of 15-12, won the middle game 14-1, and then fell in the late game, 15-9. Following Saturday's action, Saint Xavier is now 24-21-1 on the season with a 16-7 mark in the conference standings.
In the first game against the Fighting Saints Saturday, SXU fell behind early giving up 11 runs behind 11 hits in the first two innings to trail 11-2 after two frames. The Cougars clawed back and cut it to 15-12 heading into the seventh inning, but USF junior reliever Corey Schultz came in to capture four straight outs and close the door on the impressive rally attempt. Senior third baseman Matt Erickson (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) and freshman left fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) had the hot bats for SXU in Saturday's opener. Erickson went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and four RBI; while Klein posted three hits with a double, two runs scored and three RBI.
After three scoreless innings to open the day's second game, freshman first baseman Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) sparked a high-scoring effort for Saint Xavier with a two-RBI single up the middle in the top of the fourth. The Cougars would score 12 more runs over the next three innings to claim the 14-1 decision. Erickson hit a solo shot to right field in the seventh. Myjak and Klein each finished the game with three hits. Klein also had two doubles and three runs scored for SXU. Senior center fielder Anthony Maziur (Oak Forest, Ill./Northern Illinois University/Oak Forest) and junior second baseman Tom Simek (New Lenox, Ill./St. Laurence) each finished with a pair of hits and three RBI in the big win. Stirling threw another gem allowing just five hits, one run (earned) and no walks with four strikeouts to move to 6-1 on the season.
Erickson and Klein had RBI hits in the first and third innings, respectively, to give Saint Xavier a 2-0 advantage in the third game. However, St. Francis scored five runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good. The Saints would plate six more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to go ahead, 11-2. SXU would score seven runs over the final two frames, but USF would get four of its own in the sixth to put the game out of reach. Erickson and Klein each finished with two hits and a RBI in the game, while Myjak also posted two hits with two runs scored. Senior catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) added two hits and two RBI as well.
Saint Xavier (24-21-1 overall/16-7 CCAC) had its Monday home doubleheader with CCAC foe Trinity International University (Ill.) pushed back to Thursday, April 28, at 1:30 p.m. The Cougars will take on Northwestern University (Ill.) on Tuesday, April 26, at 3 p.m. in a road match-up in Evanston, Ill.