Palos Heights, Ill. – Paced by a pair of great pitching performances by sophomore right-hander Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) and freshman righty Andy Kovarik (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge), the Saint Xavier University baseball team managed a split with Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) foe Trinity Christian College (Ill.) Saturday afternoon in Palos Heights, Ill. The Cougars (32-18 overall/18-7 CCAC) lost a tough pitching duel in the opener, 2-1, but bounced back with a strong offensive performance in the late game for an 8-0 victory. With the split and its 14-10 win Friday at home against the Trolls, SXU takes the key conference series with just five games remaining, all CCAC affairs, left on the 2012 regular season slate.
Senior shortstop Adam Koglin (Henderson, Nev./UNLV/Silverado) put Saint Xavier ahead, 1-0, in the top of the third inning of game one on a RBI double that scored junior catcher Tony O'Shea (Valparaiso, Ind./Mount Carmel) from first base. An infield error hurt the Cougars in the bottom of the fourth putting the game-tying run on base and the Trolls took advantage using a RBI single later in the frame to make it a 1-1 game. An inning later, Trinity Christian scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly to centerfield. Vachon suffered the tough loss (4-3) going all six innings and allowing five hits, two runs (one earned) and a walk with two strikeouts.
The second game was a completely different affair as the Cougars blasted out 14 hits, including a pair of doubles, for the 8-0 victory. Kovarik kept the TCC bats in check for most of the game getting the win (4-1) by giving up just three hits and no walks with two strikeouts over six innings of work. Senior right-hander Austin Lehmann (Shorewood, Ill./Minooka) threw the final frame and allowed just one hit with a strikeout. The Cougars took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third with the big hit of the inning coming on a RBI single by sophomore right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley). SXU would put an exclamation point on the win with five more runs in the top of the seventh. The big highlight of the seventh came off a two-RBI double by sophomore designated hitter Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet Junior College/St. Laurence). Koglin and Klein each finished with three hits in the late game.
Saint Xavier (32-18 overall/18-7 CCAC) is off until Wednesday, April 25, when the team takes on Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) for a conference road doubleheader. The first game starts at 1:30 p.m. in Chicago.