Baseball - Sun, Apr. 29, 2007
CHICAGO - With back-to-back doubleheader sweeps of Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) foes Judson College (Ill.) and Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) over the weekend, the Saint Xavier University baseball team clinched the conference crown for the second straight season and earned a bye for this week's CCAC Tournament, which begins on Thursday, May 3. The Cougars currently have a four-game lead over Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) with a 17-2 league mark heading into their CCAC finale with the Tigers at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 30, in Bourbonnais, Ill.

In Saturday's first game against Judson, junior left-hander Kyle Zilis (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) was in a groove on the mound throwing a two-hit, complete-game shutout en route to an 8-0 SXU win. Zilis threw all seven innings, recorded 10 strikeouts, and improved to 3-1 on the season with the victory. On the offensive side, the Cougars were also cruising scattering 11 hits led by a 3-for-4 showing at the plate by senior designated hitter Ryan Buchler (Schererville, Ind./South Suburban CC). Buchler also finished with a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI in the game.

SXU jumped ahead 5-0 after five innings of game two, but a rally attempt by Judson over the last two innings fell just short and the Cougars walked away with a 5-4 victory. Sophomore rightie Rick Kehoe (Palos Heights, Ill./Richards) captured the win (5-2) in the nightcap Saturday throwing 6.2 innings and allowing nine hits, four runs (three earned), and no walks with three strikeouts. Junior Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) faced one batter in the seventh and threw the final out picking up his first save of the year. Sophomore centerfielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) led SXU with a double and two runs scored, while senior second baseman Craig Buske (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) went 1-for-2 with three RBI.

In Sunday's first game versus Cardinal Stritch, Buchler and Skelly each posted four hits as Saint Xavier rolled to an 11-5 victory. Skelly tallied a double, a home run, two runs scored, and two RBI in the big win, while Buchler notched a double, two runs scored, and three RBI. Senior right-hander Ryan Quigley (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) stayed perfect on the year (7-0) throwing the first six innings and giving up five hits, five runs (three earned), and two walks to go along with six strikeouts. SXU finished the game with 14 hits, including nine of the extra-base variety.

The strong offensive output carried over to game two with Saint Xavier notching 15 hits to secure a 17-5 victory over the Wolves in five innings. Buske had a hot bat in the second game going 2-for-4 with a pair of homers and seven RBI. Sophomore rightie Bryant Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) got the win (4-2) pitching the first 4.2 innings and allowing nine hits, five runs (three earned), and two walks with a strikeout. Freshman right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) helped lead the offense going 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and a RBI.

Saint Xavier (26-16 overall/17-2 CCAC) wraps up its conference slate with a nine-inning game against Olivet Nazarene Monday in Bourbonnais, Ill. The game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.