Baseball - Fri, May. 11, 2007
La Crosse, Wis. - Despite racking up 20 hits over the two-game stretch, the No. 2 seeded Saint Xavier University baseball team could not pick up a victory Thursday dropping both its games on the day and ending its season at the 2007 NAIA Region VII Baseball Tournament at Copeland Park in La Crosse, Wis. The Cougars (31-21 overall) dropped the first game, 11-4, to No. 1 seed St. Ambrose University (Iowa) and then fell, 6-4, to No. 3 seeded Mount Mercy College (Iowa) in Thursday's final game of the day ending their hopes of a third straight region tournament crown.
In the first game, St. Ambrose jumped out to an early 6-0 lead in the first two innings behind three home runs, including a three-run shot and a two-run blast in the first frame. A two-RBI double by senior designated hitter Ryan Buchler (Schererville, Ind./South Suburban CC) in the bottom of the third cut the deficit to four, 6-2. A RBI single in the top of the seventh gave SAU a 7-2 advantage, but Saint Xavier quickly countered with two more runs in the bottom of the inning behind a two-run homer by freshman shortstop John O'Brien (Lake Zurich, Ill./Lake Zurich). However, a RBI single and a three-run home run by the Bees in the top of the ninth pushed the game out of reach for the Cougars.
Sophomore right-hander Dan Miller (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) took the loss (4-4) against St. Ambrose throwing a third of an inning and allowing four hits, five runs (all earned), and a walk with one strikeout. Senior third baseman Nick Tantillo (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) finished 3-for-4 with a run scored, while O'Brien went 1-for-3 with a homer and two RBI. SXU racked up 10 hits in the game compared to 15 by the Fighting Bees.
Against Mount Mercy, Saint Xavier fell behind, 1-0, in the bottom of the third inning following a throwing error that plated a run. The Cougars tied the game in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by O'Brien that brought home freshman third baseman Matt Mueller (Berwyn, Ill./Morton) from third. However, a solo homer gave MMC back the lead, 2-1, in the bottom of the inning. Both teams scored three runs in the sixth inning with SXU getting RBI doubles from Tantillo and Mueller in addition to a RBI single by freshman right fielder Tony Testin (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic). Unfortunately for the Cougars, Mount Mercy scored the game's final run in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly to earn the 6-4 victory.
Sophomore rightie Rick Kehoe (Palos Heights, Ill./Richards) got the loss (5-4) throwing six innings and allowing six hits, five runs (four earned), and two walks with three strikeouts. Mueller and Testin each posted three hits and a RBI in the second game. The Cougars recorded 10 hits again in the second game, but had three errors in the field as a team.
Saint Xavier ends its 2007 season with an overall record of 31-21. In addition, the Cougars finished first in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) this spring with an impressive league mark of 18-2.