CHICAGO – With senior second baseman Tom Simek (New Lenox, Ill./St. Laurence) collecting three of the team's nine total hits on the day, the Saint Xavier University baseball team continued to struggle offensively and dropped a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) doubleheader to rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) Saturday afternoon at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (21-11 overall/8-4 CCAC), who fell to USF 10-0 at Silver Cross Field in Joliet on Friday, dropped Saturday's opening game by a score of 3-1 and then fell in the nightcap, 4-2. Simek also scored two of SXU's three runs on the afternoon.
USF picked up right where it left off Friday evening by opening Saturday's first game with three straight singles to quickly load the bases. The Fighting Saints would plate two runs in the frame off a RBI groundout and a wild pitch to take a 2-0 lead. Simek drew a walk and later scored on a sacrifice fly by junior third baseman Mike Pokers (Lansing, Ill./Andrean) in the bottom of the first to make it a 2-1 game. USF would get a sacrifice fly of its own in the third inning to push the lead back up to two runs, 3-1. Unfortunately, the Cougars would manage just two hits the rest of the way and could not get a runner into scoring position until the bottom of the seventh. Junior left-hander Mike Klett (Plainfield, Ill./Western Michigan/Plainfield North) took the loss (2-3) going all seven innings and allowing seven hits, three runs (two runs) and four walks with five strikeouts.
The second game started with three scoreless innings before St. Francis got on the board with a RBI double by senior second baseman Justin Blaine. A single by Simek followed by a RBI double by sophomore right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the frame. However, USF would answer right back with two runs in the top of the fifth off four hits, including three straight to open the inning. Sophomore centerfielder David Kuhne hit a RBI single in the seventh to give the Fighting Saints a 4-1 lead heading into the final frame. Klein would get a RBI single in the seventh to make it, 4-2, but that was as close as SXU would get. Senior lefty Michael Gaffigan (Orland Park, Ill./Western Carolina/Triton CC/Sandburg) suffered the setback on the mound (2-1) going all seven frames and giving up 11 hits, four runs (all earned) and no walks with two strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (21-11 overall/8-4 CCAC) is off until Friday, April 6, and returns to action with a nine-inning conference game against Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.). The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. (central) start in Whiting, Ind.