Baseball - Tue, May. 2, 2006
Champaign, Ill. - A two-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth by sophomore catcher Lars Davis gave the University of Illinois a 6-4 victory over Saint Xavier University Tuesday in non-conference baseball action at Illinois Field in Champaign, Ill. The Cougars (25-24 overall/16-2 CCAC) had a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth when the Fighting Illini recorded three straight two-out hits to end the game.

Sophomore left fielder Joe Miller (Chicago, Ill./Gordon Tech) was tough at the plate for SXU finishing 3-for-5 with a double and a RBI. Junior second baseman Craig Buske (New Lenox, Ill./Lincoln-Way Central) and freshman centerfielder Don Skelly (Oak Lawn, Ill./Marist) each posted two hits, a run scored, and a RBI for the Cougars in the loss.

The Fighting Illini got the game's first score, 1-0, when junior designated hitter Chase Kliment brought junior right fielder Ryan Snowden home from third on a sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the first inning. Illinois took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third when senior first baseman Dave Schultz recorded a RBI single to right field.

SXU freshman first baseman Matt Van Mill (Palos Heights, Ill./Bishop McNamara) led off the fifth inning with a single and later scored on a RBI double down the right field line by Skelly to trim the Illini lead to one, 2-1. The Cougars tied things up, 2-2, in the top of the sixth when Miller brought senior right fielder Luke Gregerson (Lyons, Ill./Morton) home from second on a RBI single to left field. However, the Fighting Illini got another big hit from Schultz in the seventh with a RBI double to center that put his team ahead, 3-2.

In the ninth, Saint Xavier got a RBI triple from Buske to tie the game, 3-3. Senior shortstop Brendan Christy (Tinley Park, Ill./Andrew) brought Buske home on a single to centerfield giving SXU its first lead of the game, 4-3. Unfortunately, back-to-back strikeouts with one out and the bases loaded kept Saint Xavier from extending its lead any further. With two outs and no runners on in the bottom of the ninth, senior pinch hitter Trevor Huisinga hit a double and later tied the game, 4-4, on a single by junior third baseman Mike Rohde. Davis then ended the game on the very next at-bat with the two-run homer to right-center.

The Cougars (25-23 overall, 16-2 CCAC) head to Elgin, Ill., on Wednesday, May 3, to make up its CCAC doubleheader finale against Judson College, which was rained out last Saturday. Start time for Wednesday's twinbill is 2 p.m.