Baseball - Wed, May. 9, 2007
La Crosse, Wis. - Behind an outstanding complete-game performance by junior left-hander Kyle Zilis (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist), the No. 2 seeded Saint Xavier University baseball team rolled to a 7-1 victory over No. 3 seed Mount Mercy College (Iowa) Wednesday night at the 2007 NAIA Region VII Baseball Tournament at Copeland Park in La Crosse, Wis. Zilis picked up the win (5-1) on the mound and gave up just eight hits, one run (earned), and one walk with 13 strikeouts, a season-high total.
Freshman shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich) had a good night at the plate going 2-for-4 with a grand slam. O'Brien gave SXU a 4-0 lead with his big homer in the bottom of the second inning. MMC led off the fifth inning with a solo homer to cut the Cougar lead to three, 4-1. However, Saint Xavier answered in the bottom of the inning when two fielding errors by Mount Mercy helped plate senior designated hitter Ryan Buchler (Schererville, Ind./South Suburban CC) from third base. Leading 5-1 after seven innings, the Cougars added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth behind a solo home run by sophomore center fielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) and a RBI double by senior second baseman Craig Buske (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central). The Cougars were limited to just five hits in the game, but made them count with three of the hits (a double and two home runs) plating six of their seven runs.
Saint Xavier (31-19 overall) will now take on No. 1 seed St. Ambrose University (Iowa) at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 10, with the winner sitting pretty for Friday's 11 a.m. championship game. Since the tournament format is double-elimination, the winner of today's SXU-SAU game would have to be defeated twice Friday to forfeit the Region VII Tournament crown.