Baseball - Mon, Apr. 24, 2006
CHICAGO - After starting the season with a 7-19 record, the Saint Xavier University baseball team has clawed its way to a .500 mark (23-23 overall) capped by four wins in its two conference doubleheaders over Trinity International University (Ill.) and Cardinal Stritch University (Wisc.) this weekend. The Cougars wrapped up a perfect 7-0 week with the two weekend sweeps and still sit atop the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) standings with a 14-2 mark and a full two-games lead over University of St. Francis (Ill.) with four left to play.

In Saturday's twinbill against TIU in Deerfield, Ill., sophomore rightfielder Joe Miller (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) had the hot bat in game one leading SXU to a commanding 12-5 victory. Miller went 2-for-4 with a home run, a run scored, and five RBI, while senior shortstop Brendan Christy (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) was also tough in game one going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. The Trojans used three runs in the second inning to take a 3-2 lead into the third inning, but Saint Xavier scored six runs in the top of the third to help cruise to the 12-5 win. Freshman righthander Dan Miller (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) got his team-high sixth win of the season (6-1) in Saturday's first game. He threw the first five innings and allowed eight hits, four runs, and a walk with two strikeouts.

In game two, Trinity International again pulled out to a early 1-0 lead with a run in the second inning. However, RBI doubles by senior right fielder Luke Gregerson (Lyons, Ill./Morton) and junior third baseman Nick Tantillo (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew), respectively, plus a two-RBI single by freshman first baseman Matt Van Mill (Palos Heights, Ill./Bishop McNamara) helped SXU post four runs in the top of the fifth to secure the victory. Sophomore leftie Kyle Zilis (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) recorded the win Saturday throwing all seven innings and giving up just five hits, a run, and a walk with four Ks in the 4-1 victory.

Everything clicked for the Cougars in Sunday's first game against CCAC foe Cardinal Stritch University as the team picked up the 14-0 victory. Junior righthander Ryan Quigley (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) pitched a gem on the mound throwing the first four innings of the five-inning affair and allowing two hits, no runs, and a walk with five strikeouts to improve to 4-4 on the season. Both Christy and Joe Miller went 3-for-3 at the plate with a triple in Sunday's game one victory. Christy also finished with four RBI and two runs scored, while Miller recorded three runs scored and a RBI. Freshman centerfielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill.) was tough at the plate as well going 2-for-2 with a triple, a homer, three runs scored, and four RBI.

Errors hurt Saint Xavier in the nightcap as Cardinal Stritch led 5-4 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning thanks in part to three throwing miscues in the third inning that plated four CSU runs. However, junior catcher Ryan Buchler (Schererville, Ind./South Suburban CC) drove in a run in the fifth on a error at short and a RBI single by Van Mill brought home the game-winning run to give SXU the 6-5 victory. Sophomore reliever Shane Longest (Wilmington, Ill./Wilmington) picked up the win (3-2) on the mound throwing three innings of middle relief and allowing two hits, a run (unearned), and a walk with three strikeouts.

The Cougars (23-23 overall, 14-2 CCAC) heads to Joliet, Ill., on Tuesday, April 25, to play a non-conference game against CCAC rival University of St. Francis (Ill.). Start time for Tuesday's game is 7 p.m.