Baseball - Fri, May. 20, 2005
Grand Rapids, Mich. - The No. 16 ranked Saint Xavier University baseball team got its offense rolling in game two of Friday's Heartland Super Regional doubleheader with No. 23 ranked Aquinas College (Mich.) at Kimble Stadium in Grand Rapids, Mich. Following a 3-1 loss in game one, the Cougars won the nightcap, 14-6, to finish the day with a split evening the three-game series at a game apiece. The third and final game of the series will be played on Saturday, May 21, at 12 p.m. eastern at Kimble Stadium with the winner earning a berth to the 2005 NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, beginning May 27.
In Friday's first game, sophomore third baseman Nick Tantillo (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) provided SXU's lone run crushing a solo homer over the left field wall with one out in the top of the third to give Saint Xavier a 1-0 lead. Aquinas tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the third with a solo shot of its own and then took a 2-1 lead with another four-bagger in the top of the fifth. A sacrifice fly in the sixth inning provided the Saints with an insurance run and SXU left four runners on base in the final three innings of the game.
Sophomore righthander Ryan Quigley (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) took the loss on the mound for Saint Xavier pitching the first eight frames and allowing nine hits, two walks and three runs. He also finished game one with 11 strikeouts. With the loss, Quigley falls to 10-2 overall on the season. Aquinas starter Kyle Finch threw all nine innings for the Saints and gave up seven hits, two walks and a run with five strikeouts.
Game two was a completely different story as the Cougars racked up 17 hits en route to a 14-run output. Sophomore first baseman Kevin White (Chicago, Ill./St. Rita) sparked a four-run second inning with a RBI double to right-center that scored junior rightfielder Luke Gregerson (Lyons, Ill./Morton) from second. After a run from Aquinas in the top of the third narrowed the SXU lead to three at 4-1, junior designated hitter Chris Gruber (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) hit a two-out, two-RBI single to left-center to put Saint Xavier ahead, 6-1.
The Cougars scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning behind back-to-back, two-RBI hits from senior leftfielder Pat Flynn (Chicago, Ill./University of Illinois) and senior catcher Carlos Campos (Stickney, Ill./Morton), respectively. Although the Saints answered with four runs in the top of the seventh, Gregerson came in as a reliever for SXU in the eighth inning and kept Aquinas hitless over the final two innings. Freshman leftie Kyle Zilis (Oak Forest, Ill./Marist) earned the win for the Cougars, his eighth of the season (8-2), pitching the first six innings and allowing three hits, three walks, and five runs (four earned) with five strikeouts.
Saint Xavier (39-22 overall) will play a single game against Aquinas College (Mich.) on Saturday, May 21, at 12 p.m. eastern time to determine the winner of the Heartland Super Regional series. Tomorrow's winner advances to the 2005 NAIA World Series. SXU has not qualified for the NAIA World Series since 1988, finishing third overall that season to tie the school's best-ever finish.