CHICAGO – Behind a combined seven hits from junior right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley), the Saint Xavier University baseball team split a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) doubleheader with Trinity Christian College Saturday afternoon at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (14-10 overall/9-6 CCAC) scored a run in the bottom of the seventh to break up an 8-8 tie and won the first game, 9-8. SXU was then on the short end of a lengthy second game (three hours, 52 minutes) that ended with TCC hanging on to get a 21-16 victory. Saint Xavier fell behind 12-1 in the first two innings of game two.
In game one, senior right-hander Mike Stirling (Thornton, Ill./Mount Carmel) got the win in relief of junior starter Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North). Stirling threw the seventh inning and gave up two hits, two runs (both earned) and no walks. Vachon went the first six frames and allowed eight hits, six runs (five earned) and a walk with eight strikeouts. The game went back and forth with the Trolls scoring two runs in the top of the first, but the Cougars tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the second. SXU added four more runs over the next two innings to go up, 6-2, but Trinity Christian plated four runs in the top of the fifth to tie the game again, 6-6. SXU got a run in both the fifth and sixth innings to make it 8-6, but a pair of runs in the top of the seventh by TCC tied things up again. A throwing error by the Trolls in the bottom of the frame allowed freshman shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) to score the game-winning run for SXU. Klein finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBI.
Trinity Christian came out strong in the second game scoring 12 runs in the first two innings to take a quick 12-1 lead. Saint Xavier answered with seven runs in the bottom of the third to cut the deficit to four runs, 12-8. The Trolls did not back down though and scored four more runs in the fourth to make it, 16-9, after the Cougars added another run in the bottom half of the frame. Both teams continued to score runs over the final four innings, but SXU could not get closer than five runs the rest of the way. Klein and freshman centerfielder Jim Augle (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) each had four hits and three runs scored in the game, while Barnhart and junior first baseman Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet JC/St. Laurence) each went 3-for-6 with three RBI. Klein got the loss (2-2) on the mound for the Cougars throwing 1.1 innings and allowing three hits, seven runs (six earned) and two walks with a strikeout.
Saint Xavier (14-10 overall/9-6 CCAC) heads up to Elgin, Ill., on Monday, April 8, for a make-up game with conference foe Judson University. The game was originally scheduled to be played on March 27. The nine-inning game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start Monday.