Elgin, Ill. – Despite three hits and a run scored by senior right fielder Ryan Pellack (Tinley Park, Ill./ Lincoln-Way North), the No. 5 seeded Saint Xavier University baseball team could not slow down No. 3 seed Saint Ambrose University (Iowa) falling 6-1 Monday in the 2017 Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) Baseball Tournament at Hoffer Field in Elgin, Ill. The Cougars (27-28 overall) scored first with a run in the top of the third inning, but the Fighting Bees took control from there scoring three runs in the bottom of the half of the inning to take the lead for good. SAU has now won 13 straight games with its last loss coming back on April 18. Monday's loss ended a five-game win streak for SXU with the Cougars scoring 11 or more runs in three of those five victories.
After opening the third inning with a single down the right field line, Pellack later scored Saint Xavier's lone run from third base on a sacrifice fly by freshman catcher Matt Bunetta (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield East). However, the lead would be short-lived as Saint Ambrose hit a pair of homers, including a two-run shot, in the bottom of the third to take the 3-1 lead. An RBI single in the fifth and sacrifice flies in both the sixth and seventh innings extended the Bees' advantage to 6-1. The Cougars had their best chance to cut into the lead in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, but the game ended on a fielder's choice to second base. Junior pitcher Matthew McKenzie (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) suffered the loss (4-6) as the SXU starter Monday throwing the first five frames and allowing six hits, four runs (all earned) and four walks with three strikeouts. The Cougars scattered 10 hits in the game, but could not get the timely one leaving 12 runners stranded on the bases.
Saint Xavier (27-28 overall/15-11 CCAC) plays to keep its season alive on Tuesday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m. against a yet-to-be-determined opponent at Hoffer Field. The winner of Tuesday's 4:30 p.m. game faces Saint Ambrose in Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. tournament championship. Since SAU is unbeaten in tournament play, the second championship game (if necessary) is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10, at 7 p.m. at Hoffer Field.