Winter Haven, Fla. – Kicking off its annual "Spring Break" trip this weekend with two games on both Saturday and Sunday, the Saint Xavier University baseball team opened the stretch Saturday with a thrilling 1-0 win over Spring Arbor University (Mich.) in 10 innings, but then dropped its next three games to start the trip with a 1-3 mark. The Cougars (1-7 overall) dropped the late game Saturday to Webber International University (Fla.), 5-2, and then got swept in a Sunday doubleheader with Aquinas College (Mich.) falling 5-4 and 8-6. Senior right-hander Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) had a nice start on the mound in Saturday's opener throwing the first eight innings and allowed just three hits and a walk with no runs and nine strikeouts. Freshman right-hander Adrian Luna (Chicago, Ill./Washington) earned the victory (1-0) for SXU in relief of Vachon throwing two perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts.
Saint Xavier scored its game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning of Saturday's game with Spring Arbor. Freshman third baseman Bryan Polak (Alsip, Ill./Marist) opened the frame with a double and sophomore Steve Carrabotta (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) came in as a pitch runner. Carrabotta advanced to third base later in the inning and was able to score the winning run on a passed ball. In the late game with Webber International, senior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) had one of Saint Xavier's three hits and scored both of team's runs. SXU dug itself a hole by giving up five runs in the first three innings. Myjak scored on a bases-loaded walk by freshman designated hitter Tom Hayes (Crestwood, Ill./Mount Carmel) in the top of the fourth and the second run on a RBI double by Polak in the sixth. Junior right-hander Dan Wetzel (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) suffered the loss (0-2) throwing the first three innings and giving up five hits, five runs (all earned) and two walks with two strikeouts.
In Sunday's first game with Aquinas, the Cougars got off to a hot start scoring the game's first four runs over the first two innings. However, the Saints chipped away at the early lead over the next eight frames and scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a RBI single. Carrabotta played well at the plate in the game going 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Senior right-hander Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) got the start on the mound pitching the first seven frames and allowing four hits, four runs (two earned) and no walks with eight strikeouts. Luna got the loss (1-1) in relief throwing 1.2 innings and giving up four hits, a run (earned) and a walk with one strikeout.
Sophomore shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) paced the SXU offense in the second game with Aquinas going 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Senior first baseman Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet JC/St. Laurence) also finished with the game with two RBI. After spotting the Saints six runs in the top of the first inning, the Cougars clawed their way back tying the game, 6-6, in the bottom of the seventh on a RBI single by Myjak. Keating had a two-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth and Barnhart recorded a two-RBI single in the sixth to propel the rally. However in the top of the ninth, four walks and a single plated the two go-ahead runs for the Saints. Freshman right-hander Justin Dryier (Alsip, Ill./Shepard) threw the first five innings and gave up five hits, six runs (two earned) and four walks with two strikeouts. Senior right-hander Dan Maton (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) suffered the loss (0-2) in relief pitching 3.2 frames and allowing two hits, two runs (two earned) and six walks with three strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (1-7 overall) continues its Florida trip on Tuesday, March 10, with a game against No. 25 ranked Ave Maria University (Fla.). The game is scheduled for a 2 p.m. (eastern) start in Babson Park, Fla.