Whiting, Ind. - Behind a huge day at the plate by senior catcher Jim Pipolo (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg), the No. 6 seeded Saint Xavier University baseball team upset No. 1 seed Robert Morris University in first round play of the 2011 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Baseball Tournament with a 6-4 victory Tuesday at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Ind. Pipolo went 3-for-3 with four RBI to pace the Cougar offense in Tuesday's big win. SXU (28-25-1 overall) advances to play at 3 p.m. on Wednesday against the loser of tonight's first round game between No. 3 seed Judson University (Ill.) and No. 4 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) in Whiting.
An infield fielding error by the Eagles in the bottom of the first inning helped set the stage for a two-RBI single by Pipolo to put the Cougars ahead, 2-0, after one inning of play. Robert Morris would quickly tie things up, 2-2, in the top of the second off four hits for a pair of runs. A RBI single by Pipolo in the bottom of the third would put SXU ahead again, 3-2, after senior center fielder Anthony Maziur (Oak Forest, Ill./Northern Illinois University/Oak Forest) led off the frame with a double down the right field line. However, RMU would tie the game in the top of the fourth on a RBI groundout to the shortstop and then used back-to-back doubles in the top of the fifth to take its first lead of the ballgame, 4-3.
In the top of the sixth, freshman right-hander Dan Maton (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) came in to relieve Saint Xavier senior starter Joe Branigan (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) and got out of a big jam with the bases loaded by getting a key strikeout to close out the frame. Senior third baseman Matt Erickson (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) sent a deep shot over the outfielder's head in center field for a RBI triple to tie the game and later scored on a RBI single by junior second baseman Tom Simek (New Lenox, Ill./St. Laurence) to give the Cougars a 5-4 advantage. SXU would add an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh off another RBI single up the middle by Pipolo. However, the insurance would be unnecessary as Saint Xavier's relievers took control of the rest of the game led by Maton and finished off by freshman Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) in the ninth inning to preserve the victory. Klein earned the save allowing just one hit in the final frame for the Cougars. Maton threw three innings of relief and allowed just one hit, no runs and a walk with two strikeouts to earn the win and improve to 2-3 this season.
Saint Xavier (28-25-1 overall/19-11 CCAC) continues tournament play on Wednesday, May 4, with a match-up against the loser of tonight's first round game between No. 3 seed Judson and No. 4 seed Olivet Nazarene. The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. start at Oil City Stadium in Whiting, Ind.