Winter Haven, Fla. – Sophomore outfielder Jim Augle (Oak Lawn, Ill./Richards) went a combined 3-for-7 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI, but the Saint Xavier University baseball team dropped its final two games of its Florida trip Saturday in Winter Haven, Fla. The Cougars fell 7-5 to Aquinas College (Mich.) in the morning match-up and then dropped a 14-5 decision to Saint Ambrose University (Iowa) that afternoon. With the two losses, SXU wraps up its annual trip south with a 4-12 overall record.
There was plenty of offense for both teams in the early stages of the game against Aquinas with Saint Xavier leading 5-4 after the first three frames. Augle had a RBI triple in the bottom of the first inning to highlight the first two runs and then senior first baseman Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet JC/St. Laurence) recorded a RBI double in the third inning to help propel a three-run frame. Unfortunately for the Cougars, three hits by the Saints and two errors for SXU in the top of the sixth brought three runs across for Aquinas giving them the 7-5 lead for good. Freshman right-hander Jesse Lopez (Chicago, Ill./Washington) threw all seven innings and allowed 10 hits, seven runs (five earned) and a walk with no strikeouts. Lopez falls to 1-2 on the year with the loss.
Sophomore shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) and senior right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) each posted two hits in the late game with Saint Ambrose. Barnhart also tallied a double and two runs scored, while junior catcher Casey Papp (Joliet, Ill./Joliet JC/Providence Catholic) had a double and three RBI. Things started off promising as the Cougars opened the game with four runs in the top of the first inning thanks in part to Papp's three-run double, but the Fighting Bees scored eight runs over the first three frames to pull away for the 14-5 victory. Junior right-hander Jack Surane (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township) suffered the loss (0-1) on the mound for SXU throwing 2.2 innings and giving up eight hits, eight runs (six earned) and five walks with no strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (4-12 overall) is scheduled to open Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) play on Saturday, March 22, with a road doubleheader against Trinity Christian College. The first game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start in Palos Heights, Ill., weather permitting.