Winter Haven, Fla. – Senior outfielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) and junior infielder Damon Softcheck (Joliet, Ill./Triton JC/Joliet West) combined for nine of the team's 20 total hits as the Saint Xavier University baseball team split two games Tuesday and Wednesday during its annual Florida trip. The Cougars (2-8 overall) cruised to an 11-0 victory in seven innings over No. 25 ranked Ave Maria University (Fla.) in Winter Haven, Fla., on Tuesday afternoon, but then dropped a 4-1 non-conference game to Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) foe Purdue University-North Central (Ind.) Wednesday in Auburndale, Fla.
Klein led the offense in the big game against Ave Maria going 4-for-5 at the plate with a pair of runs scored and four RBI. Freshman right-hander Jesse Lopez (Chicago, Ill./Washington) threw the complete game shutout for SXU allowing just five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He moves his win-loss record to 1-1 this season with the victory. The Cougars scored three runs in the top of the third powered by RBI hits from Klein and senior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel). A two-run triple by sophomore designated hitter Jim Augle (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) highlighted three more runs in the top of the fourth. Softcheck drove home two more runs with a double in the sixth to propel a four-run frame and Klein wrapped up the game's scoring with a RBI on a fielder's choice in the seventh.
In Wednesday's loss to Purdue-North Central, the game was tied 1-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth when a RBI single by the Panthers broke the tie. PUNC added two more runs to seal the win in the bottom of the eighth. The Cougars were limited to just six hits in the nine-inning affair led by two apiece from Softcheck and Augle. Junior catcher Casey Papp (Joliet, Ill./Joliet JC/Providence Catholic) had SXU's lone RBI on a single in the bottom of the fourth inning. Junior right-hander Terrance Southern (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) suffered the loss (0-1) throwing the first five frames and giving up seven hits, two runs (one earned) and a walk with a pair of strikeouts. Junior right-hander Jack Surane (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) pitched three innings of relief and allowed five hits, two runs (none earned) and no walks with a strikeout. SXU had four errors in the game.
Saint Xavier (2-8 overall) continues its Florida trip this afternoon with a 3 p.m. (eastern) doubleheader against Clarke University (Iowa). The Cougars have six more games remaining in the trip, which wraps up on Saturday, March 15.