Winter Haven, Fla. – Off to one of its best starts in the program's 40-year history, the Saint Xavier University baseball team improved its overall season mark to 12-4 with two more wins over a three-game stretch Thursday and Friday on its annual "Spring Break" trip in Winter Haven, Fla. The Cougars defeated Bethel College (Ind.), 4-3, and Houghton College (N.Y.), 12-9, on Thursday, March 1, before dropping a tough one to Warner Southern University (Fla.), 7-0, Friday. In Thursday's late game against Houghton, SXU trailed 7-0 after four innings of play, but rallied with 12 runs over the final three innings to get the victory.
Junior third baseman Mike Pokers (Lansing, Ill./Andrean) and sophomore right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) each posted two hits and a RBI in Thursday's 4-3 win over Bethel. Senior shortstop Adam Koglin (Henderson, Nev./UNLV/Silverado) scored two runs for the Cougars as well in the winning effort. After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the second, Saint Xavier tied things up in the bottom of the fourth when freshman infielder Andy Kovarik (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge) scored from third base on a double play by the Pilots. A sacrifice fly by Pokers an inning later gave SXU the 2-1 advantage, but Bethel would tie the game again with a RBI single in the top of the sixth. A wild pitch and a RBI double by Klein plated two more runs for the Cougars in the bottom of the frame and the Pilots would leave the game-tying run stranded at third base in the top of the seventh. Junior left-hander Mike Klett (Plainfield, Ill./Western Michigan/Plainfield North) got his first win of the year (1-2) throwing six innings and giving up six hits, three runs (all earned) and five walks with six strikeouts.
In the second game Thursday against Houghton, errors hurt the Cougars early on and led to a 7-0 deficit. However, Saint Xavier opened the fifth inning with three straight hits, including a pair of doubles, to spark a six-run inning capped by a two-RBI single from Kovarik. After allowing another run in the bottom of the frame, SXU scored four more runs highlighted by a RBI single for Koglin and a RBI double by sophomore left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel). A two-RBI single by Koglin in the top of the seventh sealed the victory. Kovarik got the win (2-0) on the mound in relief pitching three innings and allowing three hits, two runs (one earned) and two walks with two strikeouts. Friday's game against Warner Southern was a different story as the Cougar offense was limited to four hits and never scored in the 7-0 loss. Freshman right-hander Dan Wetzel (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) took the loss (2-1) going all eight innings and giving up eight hits, seven runs (three earned) and three walks with three strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (12-4 overall) plays a doubleheader against Warner Southern University (Fla.) on Saturday, March 3. The first game of the twin bill was scheduled to start at 12 p.m. (eastern) in Lake Wales, Fla.