Baseball - Tue, May. 8, 2007
La Crosse, Wis. - Second seed Saint Xavier University jumped out to a 6-0 lead, but then had to fight back from a late-inning deficit to hold off No. 5 seeded Iowa Wesleyan College (Iowa), 9-7, in an opening round game of the 2007 NAIA Region VII Tournament at Copeland Park in La Crosse, Wis. The Cougars dominated for five and a half innings building a 6-0 lead, while holding the Tigers without a hit until the fifth inning. IWC broke through with a run in the sixth though, and then posted six runs in the seventh inning and chased SXU senior starter Ryan Quigley (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) from the game in taking a brief 7-6 lead.
Saint Xavier (30-19 overall) came back with two runs in the eighth, and added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. On the mound, sophomore rightie Rick Kehoe (Palos Heights, Ill./Richards) came in to pitch the final two innings to earn the save for junior Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington), who got the final two outs in the seventh and picked up the victory (2-3). Freshman shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) had three hits and three RBI for the Cougars, including a solo homer to lead off the eighth inning and tie the game at 7-7. Sophomore center fielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) and senior designated hitter Ryan Buchler (Schererville, Ind./South Suburban CC) both added home runs for SXU, while freshman right fielder Zach Clements (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) also added three hits.
Jose Nunez had a solo home run and a two-run double as part of IWC's six-run seventh inning. Travis Seaberg added a two-run homer in the seventh, while Carlos Coleman and Andre Alvarado also had two hits each in the game for the Tigers (31-18). Roy Benavides took the loss in relief of Tigers' starter Levi Tinder.
Saint Xavier next will face either No. 3 seed Mount Mercy College or No. 4 seed and Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Tigers will play again tomorrow at 11 a.m. when they take on No. 6 seed Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) in the tourney's first elimination game.