CHICAGO – Holding a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, the Saint Xavier University baseball team could not sustain it giving up seven runs over the next two frames and finally falling 11-8 in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) action with Judson University (Ill.) Monday night at Hoffer Field in Elgin, Ill. The Cougars (14-11 overall/9-7 CCAC) got big games out of juniors Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet JC/St. Laurence), who went 2-for-4 with three RBI, and Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North), who finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. With the victory, Judson improves to 26-14 on the year and 11-3 in conference play.
SXU struck first Monday when senior catcher Tony O'Shea (Valparaiso, Ind./Mount Carmel) scored from third on a groundout by Keating in the top of the first inning. A double by Vachon eventually put the Cougars ahead 2-0 in the top of the second following a sacrifice fly by freshman shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community). In the bottom of the second, four walks and a hit batsman gave two runs to the host Eagles without a hit being recorded and tied the game, 2-2. A RBI double by Judson in the bottom of the third made it a 3-2 score. Saint Xavier responded in a big way scoring four runs in the top of the fifth off four hits, including a two-run single by Keating. The Eagles took advantage of another hit batsman with the bases loaded and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the frame to plate two and close to within a run, 6-5.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, the bats went cold over the final four innings. Judson used three hits and a couple of wild pitches in the bottom of the fifth to score five runs and take the lead for good. SXU went down in order in the sixth and seventh innings, but managed two hits in the eighth, including a RBI single by Barnhart, to score a pair of runs to make the score, 10-8. JU completed the game's scoring in the bottom of the eighth with a RBI double and the Cougars ended the game with three straight strikeouts in the top of the ninth. Senior left-hander Mike Klett (Plainfield, Ill./Western Michigan/Plainfield North) suffered the loss (0-1) on the mound for SXU going five innings and allowing six hits, five runs (all earned) and five walks with five strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (14-11 overall/9-7 CCAC) heads to Bensenville, Ill., this evening for a conference doubleheader with Robert Morris University (Ill.). The first of the two games begins at 5 p.m. at John Geils Field.