CHICAGO – Dropping a pair of one-run decisions, the Saint Xavier University baseball team lost both games of its road doubleheader with Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) rival Olivet Nazarene University (Ill.) Wednesday afternoon at Watson Field in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Cougars (17-25 overall/12-10 CCAC) fell by a score of 4-3 in the opener and then gave up an early 2-0 lead to lose, 5-4, in the nightcap. Sophomore shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) was one of the bright spots for SXU offensively going a combined 2-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Senior right-hander Scott Vachon (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North) picked up the loss (2-5) in game one for Saint Xavier. Vachon threw all six innings and allowed eight hits, four runs (three earned) and a walk with three strikeouts. The Cougar offense struggled with only four total hits in game one. Barnhart went 1-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored, while junior third baseman Bryan Villanova (Chicago, Ill./St. Laurence) was 1-for-3 with a run. SXU scored two runs in the top of the first off an infield error and a double steal attempt. However, the Tigers answered right back with a two-run single in the bottom of the frame to tie the game. A RBI on a groundout in the bottom of the third inning gave ONU a 3-1 lead and an RBI single in the sixth extended the lead to 4-2. An error scored a run for SXU in the top of the seventh, but the Cougars left the bases loaded to close out the game, 4-3.
Things looked good early for the Cougars in game two when Barnhart pushed a run across on an infield groundout in the top of the third inning. Leading 1-0, SXU added another run in the top of the fifth with a sacrifice fly to centerfield by senior right fielder Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) to push the lead to 2-0. However, Olivet Nazarene got its offense going in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of RBI off a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt to tie the game. Later in the inning, a key infield error by SXU extended the frame and led to three more runs for the host Tigers to build a 5-2 advantage. Senior first baseman Thomas Keating (Chicago, Ill./Joliet JC/St. Laurence) notched an RBI single with two outs in the eighth and senior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) followed that with an RBI double to bring SXU to within a run, 5-4. Unfortunately, the Cougars went down in order in the top of the ninth to end the game. Junior starter Dan Wetzel (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) fell to 3-6 on the year with the loss. He went six innings and gave up eight hits, five runs (two earned) and two walks with five strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (17-25 overall/12-10 CCAC) plays Purdue University-Calumet (Ind.) in a non-conference battle on Thursday, April 24, at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago. The nine-inning game is scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start and PUC will be the home team since the game was originally scheduled as a road game for SXU.