Joliet, Ill. – Needing a doubleheader sweep Saturday to keep its postseason hopes alive, the Saint Xavier University baseball team did just that taking a pair from Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival University of St. Francis (Ill.) at Silver Cross Field in Joliet, Ill. The Cougars (23-18 overall/18-12 CCAC) got a huge pitching performance from junior right-hander Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) in game one en route to a 4-1 victory, his seventh of the year at 7-0, and then scored a run in the top of the ninth of game two to complete the sweep with a 6-5 win. With Olivet Nazarene's sweep of Trinity Christian College Saturday, SXU still has a chance of qualifying for the six-team CCAC Baseball Tournament next week. TCC heads to Whiting, Ind., on Monday, April 29, for a make-up game against Calumet College of St. Joseph (Ind.) and needs a win to take the final playoff berth or the Cougars get in.
Freshman shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) had the hot bat in game one going 3-for-4 with a RBI to lead the Saint Xavier offensive attack. USF struck first getting a RBI groundout in the bottom of the first inning to go ahead, 1-0. Junior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) led off the second inning with a double and later scored on a RBI single by junior first baseman Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet JC/St. Laurence) to tie the game. SXU scored two more in the frame off a RBI groundout by freshman centerfielder Steve Carrabotta (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) and a RBI single by Barnhart. With Saint Xavier leading 3-1, both pitchers settled down and the only remaining run of the game came in the top of the fourth on a RBI double to the gap in left centerfield by senior catcher Tony O'Shea (Valparaiso, Ind./Mount Carmel). Vachon threw all seven frames and allowed just six hits, one run (earned) and a walk with a pair of strikeouts.
Junior Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) got the victory (5-3) on the mound in the late game throwing all nine innings and giving up six hits, five runs (two earned) and seven walks with two strikeouts. The Cougars scored three runs in the top of the first with senior third baseman Mike Pokers (Lansing, Ill./Andrean) posting a RBI single and Myjak hitting a two-run single to right field. The Fighting Saints tied things up in the bottom of the second with a RBI groundout and a two-run single. A throwing error by USF in the top of the third helped lead to another run for Saint Xavier off a sacrifice bunt by Carrabotta. After three scoreless frames, Myjak extended the Cougar lead, 5-3, with a RBI double to right field in the seventh. However, a two-run single by the Saints in the eighth tied the game again. Myjak came up big in the top of the ninth with a RBI single to bring home the go-ahead run. USF threatened putting runners at second and third with two outs, but an infield groundout ended the game.
Saint Xavier (23-18 overall/18-12 CCAC) now awaits the result of Monday's game between Trinity Christian and Calumet College (Ind.). If Trinity Christian loses Monday, the Cougars secure the No. 6 seed in next week's CCAC Baseball Tournament in Whiting, Ind., which begins on Tuesday, April 30.