An 11-6 Win Over Furman Gives Xavier Its Best Start Since 1985

Daniel Rizzie registered an RBI and scored twice in Xavier's win over Furman.

Daniel Rizzie registered an RBI and scored twice in Xavier's win over Furman.

Feb. 16, 2014

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GREENVILLE, S.C. - Xavier baseball cruised past Furman, 11-6, on Sunday afternoon for its third-straight win to open the season, marking the first time since 1985 that the Musketeers have started a campaign 3-0.

Furman (1-1) struck for a run in the home half of the first inning, but Xavier (3-0) answered with a huge second frame.

Six Musketeers crossed the plate on RBIs by Bo Slemons, Stephen Schoettmer, Tres Eberhardt, Joe Forney and two from Brian Bruening. In total, 12 batters registered six hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch.

Xavier tacked on another run in the fifth off of Joe Forney's RBI single through the left side. Andre Jernigan started the inning with an infield single and then stole second to set up Forney's RBI hit.

Vinny Nittoli was tough on the mound for Xavier. The senior righty went five innings allowing just one unearned run on four hits before relinquishing a 7-1 lead to the bullpen.

The Musketeers furthered their lead to 9-1 in the sixth inning thanks to a two-run blast from Mitch Elliott. Elliott lifted a 3-1 pitch down the left field line for his first home run of the season. Daniel Rizzie, who led off the inning with a double to right field, scored on the shot.

Furman rallied for five runs in the bottom of the sixth. The Paladins mustered just two hits in the frame, but capitalized on three walks, a hit-by-pitch and three wild pitches. Brad Kirschner entered with two down and closed the inning.

Kirshner tossed the seventh inning and gave way to Trent Astle in the eighth. Astle entered with a 9-6 lead and retired all three batters in the stanza.

Derek Hasenbeck and Rizzie provided Xavier with two insurance runs in the ninth. Hasenbenck registered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to right field for the first run and Rizzie singled up the middle to plate the second.

Furman picked up a pair of hits with one out in the ninth, but Astle got out of the jam with an unassisted double play from Schoettmer at third on a line drive by Furman's Jarrod Rickman. Astle was credited with the first save of his collegiate career.

Xavier returns to the diamond on Friday, Feb. 21 when the Musketeers head to Chapel Hill, N.C., for a three-game series against No. 13/12 North Carolina. The two teams last met in 2012, with the Tar Heels taking the series, 2-1.