Winter Haven, Fla. – Finishing out its annual "Spring Break" trip in Florida with a three-game Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) series against Purdue University-North Central (Ind.), the Saint Xavier University baseball team dropped two of its three games in the series to wrap up the trip with a overall record of 6-6. The Cougars won the first game in thrilling fashion when junior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) hit a two-out RBI double in the bottom of the 11th inning to capture a 3-2 victory Friday. However, the Saturday doubleheader did not go as well with SXU falling in the first game, 5-2, and losing an extra-innings (11) heartbreaker in the nightcap, 5-4. Senior catcher Tony O'Shea (Valparaiso, Ind./Mount Carmel) was tough at the plate for the Cougars in the series combining for eight hits, including a double.
In Friday's 3-2 victory, junior right-hander Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) got the start and threw the first eight innings. He allowed five hits, two runs (both earned) and four walks with five strikeouts. Sophomore righty Dan Wetzel (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) got the win (1-1) in relief going the final three frames and giving up just two hits, no runs and a walk with one strikeout. PUNC took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth on a RBI single, but SXU answered in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore shortstop Elliott Bajda (Whiting, Ind./Whiting) scored from third on a RBI groundout by freshman second baseman Brian McQuillan (Evergreen Park, Ill./Brother Rice). A sacrifice fly by senior third baseman Mike Pokers (Lansing, Ill./Andrean) in the sixth inning gave Saint Xavier a 2-1 lead, but the Panthers tied things up again in the eighth with another RBI single. After two more scoreless frames, Myjak came up with the big two-out hit in the 11th to give the Cougars the victory.
A big second inning in Saturday's opener gave PUNC all the offense it needed in a 5-2 win. The Panthers scored five runs off four hits, including a RBI double and RBI triple, in the frame. SXU got both its runs over the second and third innings, one coming across on a double play and the later following an error. Senior right-hander Mike Stirling (Thornton, Ill./Mount Carmel) threw the first four innings and took the loss (0-2). He allowed five hits, five runs (all earned) and six walks with three strikeouts. In the late game, O'Shea posted five hits (5-for-6) with a pair of RBI, but the Panthers got a RBI single with one out in the bottom of the 11th to take the game. The Cougars got two runs in the third inning highlighted by a RBI double from O'Shea. The game was tied 2-2 after three frames before PUNC scored a run in both the fourth and fifth innings to take a 5-3 lead. A RBI groundout by O'Shea followed by a RBI single from freshman right fielder Jim Augle (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) in the top of the seventh tied the game again. SXU had its chances leaving five runners stranded on the base paths over the next four frames. Wetzel suffered the loss (1-2) in relief pitching 1.1 innings and giving up two hits, a run (earned) and two walks.
Saint Xavier (6-6 overall/1-2 CCAC) continues conference play on Tuesday, March 19, with a road doubleheader with Robert Morris University in Chicago. The first game of the twin bill is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start, weather permitting.