Elgin, Ill. – Four unanswered runs over the final three innings helped the No. 2 seeded Judson University baseball team pull away for a 6-2 victory over No. 4 seed Saint Xavier University Monday night in the second day of action of the 2014 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Baseball Tournament at Hoffer Field in Elgin, Ill. The Cougars (22-28 overall) scattered 11 hits in the ballgame, including two apiece from freshman third baseman Bryan Polak (Alsip, Ill./Marist) and freshman catcher Ryan Pellack (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North). SXU continues play in the double-elimination tournament on Tuesday, May 6, with an elimination game against No. 1 seed University of St. Francis (Ill.) at 12 p.m. at Hoffer Field.
Senior right-hander Chris Klein (Huntley, Ill./Huntley) got the starting nod on the mound for Saint Xavier Monday night and suffered the loss (4-3) going eight innings and allowing 10 hits, five runs (all earned) and no walks with six strikeouts. After three scoreless frames to open the game, the host Eagles struck first with a run in the top of the fourth on an RBI single up the middle by sophomore third baseman Mark DeYoung. SXU quickly tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the fourth when Polak hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score sophomore shortstop Alec Barnhart (Hometown, Ill./Oak Lawn Community) from third base. In the top of the sixth, Judson got a solo homer from junior designated hitter Cameron Balough to make it a 2-1 game, but the Cougars answered the call again in the bottom of the frame when Polak came up with a clutch, two-out single to score Barnhart again from third base.
Judson took a one-run lead again in the top of the seventh when senior catcher Matt Stevens hit a solo shot over the wall in left field. Unfortunately, the Cougars left the bases full in the bottom of the seventh. SXU missed another golden opportunity to score again in the bottom of the eighth with senior left fielder Brad Myjak (Tinley Park, Ill./Mount Carmel) at third base, but JU ended the frame with a successful rundown between first and second base. The Eagles cushioned their lead in the top of the ninth adding three more runs off an RBI single by freshman second baseman Josh Hauser and a two-run double by senior left fielder Tony Ruggeiro. SXU had its chances to score again in the bottom of the ninth putting runners at first and second base before ending the game on a fielder's choice. Junior right-hander Dan Wetzel (Tinley Park, Ill./Providence Catholic) threw an inning of relief after Klein and gave up two hits, a run (earned) and a walk with no strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (22-27 overall/15-12 CCAC) fights to keep its 2014 season alive with an elimination game against University of St. Francis (Ill.) Tuesday at 12 p.m. The Cougars had success against the Fighting Saints earlier this spring sweeping the conference doubleheader at Richard R. Ferrell Memorial Field in Chicago back on April 1.