Babson Park, Fla. – After having its first four scheduled games of the season cancelled due to inclement weather, the Saint Xavier University baseball team officially kicked off the new campaign with six games in Babson Park, Fla., to begin its annual "Spring Break" trip. The Cougars (3-3 overall) split its first six contests playing the first four games at Heart of Florida Field in Babson Park, Fla., on Friday and Saturday and then playing two games Sunday in Winter Haven, Fla. SXU split a pair on Friday defeating Spring Arbor (Mich.), 4-2, in its season opener, but then falling to Webber International (Fla.), 7-2. Saturday proved to be another split as the Cougars rallied for a 4-3 victory over Webber International, but then dropped an 11-0 decision to Spring Arbor. Sunday's doubleheader against Concordia (Neb.) was another split with Saint Xavier losing the first game, 8-5, but bouncing back in game two for the 5-4 win.
Junior right-hander Lucas Fritsch (Orland Park, Ill./Sandburg) got the win (1-0) and the season going in the right direction Friday in the team's opener against Spring Arbor throwing six innings and allowing just six hits, two runs (both earned) and two walks with two strikeouts. SXU trailed 2-0 heading into the top of the seventh inning before a two-run double by junior first baseman Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet Junior College/St. Laurence) tied things up. The Cougars were not finished though as freshman centerfielder Jim Augle (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) notched an RBI single and senior catcher Tony O'Shea (Valparaiso, Ind./Mount Carmel) recorded another RBI on a fielder's choice later in the frame to give Saint Xavier the lead for good. In Friday's late game against Webber International, SXU led 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth before WIU scored six unanswered runs over the next two innings to pick up the 7-2 victory. Keating went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored to lead the Cougar offense. Sophomore lefty Scott Koziol (Burbank, Ill./St. Laurence) took the loss (0-1) throwing 4.2 innings and allowing four hits, four runs (all earned) and nine walks with seven strikeouts.
Saint Xavier got some revenge on the Warriors in Saturday's first game scoring four runs over the final two frames to erase a 3-0 deficit and pick up the 4-3 win. Augle went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI, while junior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) was 1-for-2 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Freshman shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) led SXU with two runs scored. Junior righty Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) threw a complete game (seven innings) and gave up four hits, three runs (all earned) and four walks with six strikeouts to notch his first win of the year (1-0). Unfortunately, the Cougars could not carry that momentum into the second game against Spring Arbor. Saint Xavier managed just three hits in the 11-0 loss. Myjak had two of the team's three hits in the game. Senior righty Mike Stirling (Thornton, Ill./Mount Carmel) suffered the loss (0-1) going five innings and allowing eight hits, eight runs (seven earned) and two walks with five strikeouts.
Senior third baseman Mike Pokers (Lansing, Ill./Andrean) and junior right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) had the hot bats in Sunday's first game against Concordia. Both guys went 2-for-4 at the plate with Klein posting a double, a homer, two runs scored and two RBI and Pokers notching a double, a run scored and an RBI. SXU came out strong scoring all five of its runs in the first two innings, but Concordia scored seven runs over the final four innings to get the victory. Junior right-hander Dan Maton (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) suffered the loss (0-1) throwing all six innings and giving up nine hits, eight runs (six earned) and a walk with four strikeouts. An RBI single by Augle in the bottom of the seventh gave SXU a thrilling 5-4 victory over Concordia in Sunday's nightcap. Klein got the win on the mound throwing all seven frames and allowing six hits, four runs (three earned) and a walk with eight strikeouts. Augle went 2-for-4 with a double and pair of RBI's, while O'Shea was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Saint Xavier (3-3 overall) continues its Florida trip today with a game against University of Saint Francis (Ind.). The game was scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. (eastern) start.