CHICAGO – Senior first baseman Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet JC/St. Laurence) went a combined 4-for-7 with a double, two runs scored and a RBI as Saint Xavier University split its Saturday doubleheader with Cardinal Stritch University (Wis.) in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) baseball action at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The Cougars (17-23 overall/12-8 CCAC) won the opening game, 9-3, behind 12 hits, but gave up a one-run lead late in the second game to fall, 5-4. SXU got two solid starts on the mound from freshman Jesse Lopez (Chicago, Ill./Washington) and senior Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley). Lopez got the win (4-3) in the first game throwing all seven frames and allowing seven hits, three runs (all earned) and two walks with two strikeouts. Klein went the first eight innings of game two and gave up nine hits, three runs (two earned) and a walk with six strikeouts.
The Cougars built an early 2-0 lead in the first game when a couple of wild pitches by Stritch brought home both Klein and junior third baseman Bryan Villanova (Chicago, Ill./St. Laurence) from third base. A two-out, two-run double by freshman right fielder Bryan Polak (Alsip, Ill./Marist) in the bottom of the third pushed the lead to 4-0. Villanova had an RBI single in the fourth to make the score, 5-0, and then SXU secured the victory with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Sophomore pinch-hitter Andres Alika (Las Vegas, Nev./Kalaheo) and sophomore shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) each had sacrifice flies in the sixth, while senior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) turned in a two-run double to left field. The Wolves scored three runs in the top of the seventh off five singles and a walk, but the Cougars ended the game with a 4-6-3 double play.
Stritch scored first in the second game with a run off a RBI single in the top of the first. Villanova tied the game in the bottom of the third with a RBI single through the left side. A lead-off double for the Wolves and a throwing error by the Cougars in the next at-bat scored another run for CSU in the top of the sixth inning. An RBI single in the top of the seventh gave Stritch a 3-1 lead before SXU answered in the bottom of the eighth with three runs. Keating had an RBI single to kick off the big frame before a fielding error by the Wolves brought home two more runs. Heading into the ninth inning leading 4-3, SXU turned to its bullpen. Unfortunately, wild pitches took its toll on the Cougars as a pair of them ended up scoring the game-tying and go-ahead runs for Stritch. Junior Dan Wetzel (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) suffered the loss (3-5) in relief throwing one inning and allowing one hit, one run (earned) and a walk. Freshman Adrian Luna (Chicago, Ill./Washington) also faced one batter on the mound for SXU in the ninth giving up one hit and a run (earned).
Saint Xavier (17-23 overall/12-8 CCAC) takes a short break for Easter and then returns to action on Wednesday, April 23, with a conference road doubleheader with Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.). The first game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. start at Tiger Field in Bourbonnais, Ill.