Elgin, Ill. – Freshman third baseman Matt Monahan (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a double, a home run and five RBIs to lead No. 5 seed Saint Xavier University to a 13-7 win over No. 8 seeded Indiana University-South Bend (IUSB) Saturday afternoon in the 2017 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Baseball Tournament at Hoffer Field in Elgin, Ill. The Cougars (27-27 overall) have now scored 13 runs in back-to-back games after opening the tournament Friday with a 13-2 victory over No. 4 seed Purdue University-Northwest (Ind.). Following the game, SXU had several players receive postseason honors from the conference with junior pitcher Tyler Hebel (Waterloo, Ill./Waterloo) claiming All-CCAC First Team recognition and Monahan named the 2017 CCAC Baseball Freshman of the Year as well as to the All-CCAC Second Team. In addition, freshman first baseman Ben Zordani (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way West) and junior pitcher Matthew McKenzie (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) earned spots on the 2017 CCAC Gold Glove Team.
After the Titans scored the game's first run on back-to-back, two-out doubles in the bottom of the first inning, the Cougars answered right away in the top of the second scoring four runs to take the lead for good with the big hit coming on a two-run single to right centerfield by junior designated hitter Erik Eggert (Tinley Park, Ill./Lincoln-Way North). IUSB scored a run in both the second and third innings off RBI singles to pull within a run, 4-3. However, SXU scored six unanswered runs over the next three innings to build a 10-3 advantage. Monahan had a solo homer to right field in the fourth inning and a two-run double off the wall in centerfield in the fifth to lead the charge. A two-run single and an RBI single by Indiana-South Bend in the bottom of the seventh helped plate four runs that trimmed the big lead down to three runs, 10-7. SXU recovered in the eighth by recording three more runs off an RBI double by senior centerfielder Alex Neufeld (Tinley Park, Ill./Roosevelt University/Lincoln-Way North), a sacrifice fly by senior right fielder Ryan Pellack (Tinley Park, Ill./ Lincoln-Way North) and an RBI single by Monahan. Eggert did the rest coming in to pitch the final two innings and allowing just one hit with three strikeouts. Sophomore right-hander David Strom (Midlothian, Ill./Benedictine University/Bremen) got the win (5-4) as the SXU starter Saturday. He threw six innings and gave up eight hits, four runs (three earned) and a walk with five strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (27-27 overall/15-11 CCAC) continues tournament play on Monday, May 8, with a 10:30 a.m. game against No. 3 seed Saint Ambrose University (Iowa). The winner of Monday's match-up advances to Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. championship game with no tournament losses on its record in the double-elimination event.
Click HERE to view the second photo gallery from SXU's 13-7 win over Indiana-South Bend