Winter Haven, Fla. – Behind the impressive play of sophomore right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley), the Saint Xavier University baseball team continued its winning ways with victories in four of its last five games during its annual "Spring Break" trip in Florida. The Cougars (10-3 overall) swept a doubleheader from University of Mary (N.D.) Monday by scores of 6-3 and 8-3 and then beat Houghton College (N.Y.), 7-4, on Tuesday. SXU wrapped up the stretch Wednesday by splitting a road doubleheader with Webber International University. The Cougars won the first game, 5-3, in eight innings, but dropped the nightcap, 7-6. Klein went 7-for-16 at the plate with five runs scored and two RBI over the five games, while also getting a win on the mound as a reliever in the victory over Webber International.
Klein was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI in Monday's 6-3 win over Mary. The Cougars took control of the game early scoring four runs in the top of the first inning sparked by a RBI double from Klein. Freshman right-hander Dan Wetzel (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) earned the win for SXU throwing all seven innings and allowing eight hits, three runs (all earned) and two walks with three strikeouts. He improved to 2-0 on the season. In Monday's late game, junior designated hitter Mike Klett (Plainfield, Ill./Western Michigan/Plainfield North) had the hot bat going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI. Saint Xavier scored all eight of its runs in the first four frames to build an 8-0 advantage before Mary scored its only three runs in the top of the seventh. Senior lefty Michael Gaffigan (Orland Park, Ill./Western Carolina/Triton CC/Sandburg) looked sharp as the starter throwing five innings and giving up just six hits, no runs and a walk with a pair of strikeouts to earn his first win of the year (1-0).
In the victory over Houghton Tuesday, SXU had to rally from an early 2-0 deficit to pick up the 7-4 decision. Five runs in the top of the fourth inning helped spur the comeback thanks in part to four walks and a hit by pitch that placed five Cougar runners on base. The only hit of the frame came off a RBI single by sophomore left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel). SXU would cushion its lead with two more runs in the fifth off a RBI double by junior third baseman Mike Pokers (Lansing, Ill./Andrean) and a sacrifice fly by Klett. Freshman right-hander Andy Kovarik (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) secured his first victory of the season (1-0) by throwing all seven innings and allowing eight hits, four runs (all earned) and two walks with a strikeout.
Senior second baseman Tom Simek (New Lenox, Ill./St. Laurence) posted three hits, two runs scored and two RBI for the Cougars in Wednesday's extra innings win over Webber International. Simek notched the game-winning hit in the top of the eighth with a two-RBI double to left centerfield. A homer by Klett and a RBI single by senior shortstop Adam Koglin (Henderson, Nev./UNLV/Silverado) in the seventh inning set the stage for the thrilling come-from-behind victory. Junior righty Mike Stirling (Thornton, Ill./Mount Carmel) threw the first six innings and gave up eight hits, three runs (all earned) and a walk. Klein got the win (1-0) in relief pitching the final two frames giving up three hits and no runs or walks with a strikeout. In the late game, the Cougars scored six runs in the top of the second to take a 6-0 lead, but the Warriors chipped away at the deficit and scored two in the fifth to get the 7-6 victory. Pokers got the loss in relief (0-1) allowing five hits, three runs (all earned) and a walk over two innings. SXU was limited to four hits.
Saint Xavier (10-3 overall) takes on Bethel College (Ind.) and Houghton College (N.Y.) on Thursday, March 1, in Winter Haven, Fla. The first game against Bethel starts at 9 a.m. (eastern), while the second game of the day kicks off at 12:30 p.m. (eastern).